Banchory residents hit out at Cala

The Upper Lochton residents next to the Cala Homes site. Image supplied by Martin KindnessThe Upper Lochton residents next to the Cala Homes site. Image supplied by Martin Kindness
The Upper Lochton residents next to the Cala Homes site. Image supplied by Martin Kindness
Banchory residents have called for Cala Homes to reconsider its plan for 68 new houses that will be built at their backyards.

Frustrated Upper Lochton homeowners have voiced concerns that opening their street to recycling centre traffic could result in children being seriously hurt.

And they are pleading with developers to reconsider the need for a roundabout on the busy Raemoir Road for the safety of both residents and motorists.

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Members of the Marr area committee approved the new housing development earlier this month.

But residents have sent complaints to Aberdeenshire Council claiming the planning debate “did not follow standard of service”.

The neighbours claim that councillors were “misled” by officers regarding information found in the masterplan.

They also say that their concerns were simply not listened to.

Those living in Upper Lochton always knew plans for new housing would come, something they admit they had no problem with.

An initial masterplan stated 50 homes would be built along with a roundabout to address any traffic issues along Raemoir Road.

But residents were furious to see Cala Homes had added 18 extra homes and removed the roundabout.

The current tip road will be removed while the new houses are built, however a new access will be formed as part of the development.

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But, residents say the use of their road will cause problems to children, pets and the elderly as it’s a narrow road with minimal pavements.

They also claim cars and large lorries will go past their homes “at all hours”.

Martin Kindness’ home looks on to the boundary of the Cala site.

He bought his property 12 years ago knowing there would be a development behind him in the future.

Martin also believed there would be a strip of greenspace to separate the existing Upper Lochton homes with any new houses.

However, he was shocked to discover this would not be the case and now fears his home will be overlooked by the new properties.

Martin submitted a complaint to the council on behalf of the other householders, claiming that their concerns were not debated at all.

Martin said: “Somebody needs to listen to what we are saying.

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“We’re not against the development but just do it within the parameters.”

Neighbour Jayne Christie believes a new road leading to the recycling centre should be built first.

She is also worried that Upper Lochton is not suitable for the predicted influx of traffic that construction will bring.

Jayne, who has lived on the street for 18 years, revealed that 15 cars passed her during a recent 10 minute walk up the current tip road.

She explained: “There’s no visibility getting out of our driveways, mine is terrible.

“My mother-in-law is 95, she lives nearby so she has to walk on the road if she’s meeting her friends at the garden centre.

“That’s not safe.”

Jayne also fears the replacement recycling centre access would impact future residents of the new development.

She said: “The affordable housing will be built on the new tip road with lorries going past at six in the morning.

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“Children will have to cross that road to get to the new play area and to school.

“Any young families are going to be in the position that we may be in with cars going past at all hours.”

Jamie Farquharson-Welsh added his concerns.

He explained that Upper Lochton stopped being the road to the recycling centre when the Provost Black houses were built.

“A new road was put in as it was thought to be too dangerous,” he exclaimed.

The Hill of Banchory has grown since, with many more homes, gardens and people using the recycling centre.

“Recent weekends have seen log jams and queues, and problems getting in and out,” he said.

“They want to use Upper Lochton as a diversion meantime but how can it manage?”

He noted that high volumes of traffic and large vehicles would make the road dangerous as there are no turning areas.

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Jamie also fears residents will continue to use Upper Lochton as an access route in the future.

He added: “Already neighbours are concerned that cats will be at risk.

“I have two dogs who happily walk off lead, this will not be possible as it will not be safe and it will be a loss for the many walkers, cyclists and dog owners who use this lane daily.”

While David Cowan said opening up Upper Lochton to recycling centre traffic could result in someone being hurt.

He stated: “The road is narrow, the driveways are blind for emerging on to the road and it is very busy with dog walkers, cyclists and pedestrians.

“There simply isn’t the room to accommodate these number of users safely.

“Somebody will get seriously injured and unfortunately that is likely to be a child.”

David added: “The Upper Lochton development is a disaster for the local area.

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“It seems to me that landowners and developers have just got everything they wanted whereas the local residents got absolutely nothing.

“And to spite us, they want to turn our lovely street into a busy road for through traffic.

“Make no doubts about this the residents will not stand for this.”

A spokeswoman for Aberdeenshire Council confirmed the complaint had been received and a reply will be given as soon as possible.

They explained: “The complaint is being processed through the council’s formal complaints procedure and will be responded to within the relevant timescales.

“As with all complaints the issues raised will be thoroughly assessed with input sought from appropriate council sources, as necessary.”

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Cala Homes (North), said the firm would engage with local residents directly as work progresses.

She said: “The number of units has increased from the original masterplan as a result in a change to the mix of properties, this change has not affected the overall footprint of the development.

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“The existing residential street at Upper Lochton will be used to access the household recycling centre for a period of time during construction which will facilitate the new recycling centre access, alongside significant Raemoir Road upgrade works.

“A staggered junction, with traffic calming measures, has been agreed with the council’s roads department, in keeping with the existing road infrastructure.”

The spokeswoman added: “Cala is a responsible homebuilder, and we are committed to being a good neighbour to the Banchory community.”

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