Travellers’ have withdrawn a controversial application to build a holiday park at a contaminated former piggery in the Mearns.
But residents are “not putting too much weight” on the plug being pulled and fear another “cat and mouse” game could develop.
The application was lodged by Monarch Leisure and Park Homes whose director William McDonald is one of the men behind the controversial St Cyrus Travellers’ site at North Esk Park which appeared virtually overnight in 2013.
Residents previously slammed the bid for 57 holiday lodges at the former piggery at Dowrieburn in Luthermuir where onsite facilities were to include barbecues and hot tubs.
They voiced their concerns to The Courier and suspicions were raised when a blaze broke out at the site on the very evening after the article appeared in print.
A JCB was used to pile rubbish up before it was burnt which included mattresses, wood, paint pots, pipes and a sign for the St Cyrus Travellers’ site.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency had already objected to the application on the grounds of flood risk before the application was withdrawn.
One resident said: “We’re not putting too much weight on the application withdrawal.
“From memory, I think the same thing was done a few times with the North Esk Park application probably to save some money, tweak a few things on plan, then re-submit.
“Several diggers were working at the back of site burying rubbish but I think the near neighbours are keeping a very watchful eye on things, as is Sepa I understand.”
The holiday lodges at Dowrieburn would have been available for outright purchase at the agricultural site which was previously used as an intensive pig farm.
The large number of animal remains buried during its time as a working piggery would have required a full site decontamination.
Projections for occupancy levels at Dowrieburn indicated the development had the potential to generate an additional £1.4 million visitor spend per annum, which would have supported an additional 26 full-time equivalent jobs.
North East Scotland Conservative MSP Liam Kerr said: “Local residents will be relieved to hear that this application has been withdrawn, but given previous experience, there is no guarantee that this will be the end of the story.
“I said before that the local concerns are legitimate and that Aberdeenshire Council must keep a close eye on events at the Luthermuir site.
“That remains the case, despite the notification of the withdrawal of the application.
“This should also stay on the radar of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.”
Scottish Ministers recently “called in” a retrospective application for planning permission at North Esk Park in St Cyrus when flooding issues were raised by Sepa.
North Esk Park has been substantially added to since the first temporary homes appeared in September 2013.
Aberdeenshire councillors voted overwhelmingly in favour of granting permission for the development as an official halting and touring site in April.
The owners had applied for retrospective permission.
Aberdeenshire Council confirmed the Luthermuir piggery application had been withdrawn.