Ury Update and the Missing Link

By Jane Cruickshank / March 17, 2023

AFTER years of planning and somewhat slow progress, the next two years should see significant advances towards the grand vision of Ury Estate – so heard Stonehaven and District Community Council at their meeting this week when developer Jonathan Milne gave a presentation.

Mr Milne said work on the site had stopped last October and was expected to recommence in April/May.

He spoke about aspects of the masterplan in turn, saying:

The link road

Final road construction consents are expected soon for the East Lodge opening where the purchase of East Lodge has facilitated a junction.

Piles and pile caps have been put in for the bridge – and by working this year and next, they hope to complete the link road, which Mr Milne described as being ‘top of our agenda’ by Nov 2024.

Repeated concerns were raised about the link road – please see below.

Retail development

Developer hopes to be on site March/April/May of this year. Last year some work was done at the farm waste management site in preparation. The 42,000 square foot development should be complete by the end of next year.

Mr Milne did not wish to comment on who the operator might be but those at the meeting noted planning permissions were held by Morrisons. Mr Milne later confirmed the supermarket would not be a Coop.

Affordable housing

This is not in the control of FM Property as it has been sold to Hillcrest Housing, who hope to be on site this year.

Golf course

Artist’s impression issued in recent marketing material

Some work has been undertaken on the front nine running along the Cowie valley.

The back nine sitting in woodland have all been cut out and framed – excavation and drainage works are needed, which they hope to complete by October. Working after October does not make sense due to issues such as silt run-off.

The golf course will be sand capped, which Mr Milne described as ‘exciting’ as it means it will be playable all-year-round. It is scheduled to open in April 2025 and be operated by IMG, whom Mr Milne described as having a strong reputation in the golf market.

Ury House

The house was made wind and water tight in 2017. Lower rooms will be made ready for use as a club house for the golf course opening in 2025. Upper rooms will then be made ready for use as a wedding venue.

Housing

Blue lodge housing area off Slug Road will be called the Nicklaus Village and will be developed at the same time as the golf course. Some of the housing will be offered as plots.

Further housing will be built near the existing Kirkwood Homes development after the link road is complete. At the moment this is being branded Golden Bear housing – but the money they will raise is needed, as Mr Milne is ‘fed up putting cash in’ to the development so other prospects such as more Kirkwood Homes properties would be considered.

The ‘Field’ housing (field off Netherley Road) will be marketed as the Jack Nicklaus retreat and is expected to be a mix of principal and secondary homes.

The sale of housing helps finance the golf course. Equally the holes being developed should help with the sale of houses, especially at Blue Lodge. Mr Milne feels it will be an attractive setting for a home, saying, ‘I’d quite fancy one’.

Mr Milne noted that houses would be developed as fast as the ‘market would accept them’.

Link Road concerns

During the meeting, Mr Milne’s presentation was repeatedly brought back to questions and concerns over the link road.

The nature of the road, with homes facing it and driveways emerging onto it was questioned – why was it not designed as a distributor road?

Residents said they had purchased their homes when a differing long loop layout would have deterred rat-running.

And Ian Hunter said he was concerned about it being used by HGVs going to the supermarket – he asked about a possible weight limit. Chairman David Lawman said safety was the most important factor and asked for a reduction in the speed limit to 20mph.

Mr Milne said the road had been present in the masterplan since 2007 – and it was constructed as required by the planning and roads departments of the local authority. This was later confirmed by the local authority.

An Aberdeenshire Council spokesperson said: “While we appreciate residents currently living on a cul-de-sac may be concerned about the completion of the link road allowing additional through traffic movements, it was always the case that the road would connect the B979 and A957 in the completed development and the scheme has been carefully designed accordingly.

“The speed limit within the estate is currently 30mph which we hope all motorists are observing and that will remain in place once the link road is opened.

”With regards to any weight limit, all of our roads are built to a standard capable of taking all normal classes of vehicles including lorries. We do not anticipate that the number of lorries using this route once opened will be excessive.”

Willie Garner - March 17, 2023

So basically, Aberdeenshire Council don’t really care about any concerns the Kirkwood homeowners have. Many young families now live on the estate and the thought that constant traffic, cars and lorries, who will use the road as a means to get to and from AWPR will have access is scary and a serious accident waiting to happen. 30 mph on a narrow road through a populated estate is ridiculous, and the comment “ roads are built for heavy vehicles” is just plain mad. If this is to go ahead, Speed bumps and 15/20 mph should be a minimum deterrent to people using this road as a rat-run. I’ve lived on the estate for over 2 years, and have witnessed a few ‘near misses’ re accidents, and that’s with local traffic. I feel the residents must do whatever we can to insist greater safety measures must be, not considered but put in place.

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