Planning permission for a new roadside service station has been provisionally granted by Councillors. The Mearns and Kincardine area committee voted 7-5 to approve the project on Tuesday.
The roadside services are to be located 3.5 miles south of Laurencekirk at Mains of Luther, on the A90 Luthermuir junction. It is planned that a fuel station, farm shop and a service area, studio retail units, an eatery and a 3-star hotel will all be constructed.
The project has been backed by VisitScotland due to the potential to help bring tourists to the area with Jo Robinson Regional Director at VisitScotland saying “VisitScotland welcomes the development of this project and is committed to providing industry support throughout the development process.”
Councillors on the committee were recommended to refuse the application by planning officers, but pressed ahead and granted approval. Since the development was not in the local development plan, the council-wide plan which identifies areas of land that can be developed, a further decision will be made on the future of this project at the next Infrastructure Service Committee meeting, due to be held on the 21st of June.
The development was recommended for refusal due to its location (on prime agricultural land) and reliance on vehicles to access the site. Elements of the economic impact assessment, however, would have played a crucial role in convincing Councillors to vote in favour of the project. The report identified that between 98 and 117 jobs could be created and could bring over £3.2 million to the region.
Cllr Leigh Wilson, who voted in support of the project commented: “I was happy to give my support to the proposed roadside service station in Luthermuir, and I am glad that the Area Committee have similarly endorsed the proposals.
“The Economic Impact Assessments show that the proposals stand to bring 100 jobs into the area, as well as potentially generating £3m per annum. With this kind of economic benefit, I could only welcome this development as a great asset to my ward.
“I am actively trying to help promote this area as a major tourist destination and a range of quality restaurants with locally produced food and drink will go a long way to achieving that.”
Councillors Wilson, Bews, Carr, Dickinson, Evison, Robertson and Wallace all voted to support the project. Whilst Councillors Agnew, Howatson, Hutchinson, Mollison and Pike voted to refuse the application.