Aberdeen planners back £40m Hazlehead Park country club plan
A £40 million five-star hotel and country club development at Hazlehead Park in Aberdeen has been backed by city planners.
The Press and Journal reports that an application for a 200-bedroom hotel, spa and swimming pool complex with conference facilities and an equestrian centre will be considered by Aberdeen City Council on Wednesday.
The site covers the Hayfield Riding Centre, along with fields to the east side of Hazledene Road at Hazlehead Park.
The council’s head of planning, Margaret Bochel, has recommended approval of the proposal, subject to a number of conditions, although it would have to be referred to Scottish ministers as it does not comply with green belt policy.
A pre-determination hearing was held in November to allow residents and members of Craigiebuckler and Seafield Community Council to have their say.
Graham Stuart, from BMJ Architects, and John Robertson, from Hyder Consulting, fielded questions from elected members along with council roads and planning officials.
Since then, plans for holiday chalets have been and the golf club house, worth around £10m to the total cost, have been removed and the proposed hotel and conference facilities have been reduced in size.
Alan Massie, boss of Carlton Rock, the developer behind the plans, said the changes are expected to reduce traffic compared to the previous proposals by around 40 per cent.
The local authority’s roads department has said that pedestrian and cycle access between the development and local roads would be “poor”.
The roads team has also argued a barrier system for private cars is “essential” to avoid “rat running” through the development.
Increased traffic caused by the country club is not expected to have a significant impact on the local road network, but could cause “inconvenience and safety concerns” for pedestrians and cyclists.
Concerns have also been raised by Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels about the impact on the animals.
The city council has been credited with playing a leading role in a “remarkable recovery” of the red squirrels in Hazlehead Park.
Ms Bochel, in her conclusion, stated the plans can be supported, provided there are developer contributions to upgrade access roads and paths as well as the wider Hazlehead Park area.