North-east village revamp set to pass

MASSIVE: An impression of how the Blackdog development could look.

Plans to create shops, a cinema, hotel, petrol station and supermarket in the North-east could be passed next week.

Ashfield Land is seeking planning permission in principle to create a new town centre at Blackdog.

The development would include a regional food hall that could be used by farmers and producers’ retail outlets, an 850-seat cinema and hotel with 150 bedrooms.

It is part of an overall £150 million development in the area, which could also see Kirkwood Homes build 550 houses to accommodate 2,100 residents.

Aberdeenshire Council is being asked to grant Ashfield Land’s application at a meeting on Thursday – subject to conditions being ironed out with planning bosses.

These include reaching an agreement to cover the provision and maintenance of a Traveller transit site.

A vision of the completed development.
A vision of the completed development.

In a report to councillors, Stephen Archer, director of infrastructure services, said: “The proposal involves establishing the principle of creating a new, large scale, commercial development at Blackdog within part of a site identified for a mixed use development in the Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan.

“The proposal is part of a much wider mixed use scheme also involving the erection of housing and proposed alterations to the approved AWPR junction at Blackdog.

“The proposals include a leisure use and food and drink provision, and careful consideration of these elements has been taken.

“Information relating to the cinema and potential impact has been submitted and it is accepted the leisure use in terms of impact on other cinema locations is low.

“Conditions restricting the size of the cinema and floor space for the food and drink elements of the development are proposed.”

Stephen Archer.
Stephen Archer.

The development would be bound by the A90 trunk road to the west, the existing Blackdog Industrial Estate to the south, Blackdog Rifle Range and Blackdog beach to the east.

It is also located within the Energetica Corridor, which runs between Aberdeen and Peterhead, offering investment and growth opportunities for engineering and technology organisations.

Mr Archer said it would provide a “viable, deliverable and sustainable development” within the Energetica Corridor.

He added: “Blackdog is a key development location for Energetica because of its strategic location and this development could assist with encouraging further potential investment in the corridor.”

Despite the proposal being a departure from the Strategic Development Plan and Local Development Plan, Mr Archer said it should be approved to ensure future investment.

Members of Formartine area committee were previously asked to give their views on the application.

Councillors unanimously backed the proposal for approval by the full council.

Another of the impressions of new £150m mixed use community in Blackdog.
Another of the impressions of new £150m mixed use community in Blackdog.

Aberdeen City Council planning bosses raised concerns about the proposal, stating it could potentially have an “adverse effect” on the city centre.

The Ministry of Defence has also criticised the proposals.

The MoD owns Blackdog Rifle Range, which is used by a number of different military groups.

The MoD said the development would create a “sensitive environment” not suited to its “live firing and demolitions”.

The facility is made up of 12 and six-lane gallery ranges, as well as demolition, baton gun, clay pigeon and dry training facilities.

Subject to planning permission being granted by the full council, the developers plan to submit detailed design proposals in the coming months.

Construction work would be expected to start later this year.