Multi-million pound plans for a roadside service complex on the border of Aberdeenshire and Angus have been blocked at appeal by Scottish Ministers.
The Mains of Luther proposal, just off the A90 Dundee to Aberdeen dual carriageway near Luthermuir, aimed to create almost 120 jobs and pump up to £3 million per year into the local economy.
Luther Farm Services modelled their vision on for the 13-acre development on a successful services complex on the M5 near Gloucester, drawing up a scheme which included a farm shop, restaurant, café, steak house, hotel, petrol station and four shops.
Aberdeenshire’s Kincardine and Mearns committee previously supported the in-principle plan, but the decision was subsequently overturned by the authority’s infrastructure services committee, leading to the appeal.
In newly-released findings, Scottish Government-appointed reporter Claire Milne has flagged up road safety concerns in relation to the busy trunk road and said she does not believe the complex would sit will within the local area.
Luthermuir lies almost a mile away and Ms Milne highlighted the council’s view that the proposed site, on the northbound side of the dual carriageway, was “conveniently accessible”.
“I do not agree with the appellant that it would be within the same visual envelope as Luthermuir,” she said.
“The council considers public transport links to the site to be limited and walking and cycling not a realistic option for employees or visitors.”
On the road safety question, the reporter commented: “Transport Scotland has not objected, but their response is conditional.
“The council highlights its duty of care for users of the B974/A90 junction.
“It considers Transport Scotland’s requirement for signage to restrict HGV movements would not prevent buses and service vehicles from accessing the development and it would also be unenforceable as there would be no means of differentiating development traffic from local traffic using the junction, described as a “substandard at-grade” connection with the main A90.”
The reporter also questioned the development’s suitability as a service station.
The statement said: “Roadside services by their very nature require to be adjacent to the road.
“In a conventional sense, I do not consider the proposal to be roadside services.
“While I accept that the proposed uses and location of the site means it could provide some essential goods and facilities to those travelling on the A90, this would not be its only function or entirely exclusive.”
“The proposal would also represent tourism development in the countryside and would not relate well to settlements, would not be well-connected or reduce the need to travel, and I am not satisfied that it would provide adequate measures to ensure road safety.
“Any net economic and social benefits would not be sufficient to overcome these fundamental concerns,” said the reporter.