Local authority planners permit deviation from Local Development Plan to Aberdeenshire operator to construct purpose-built depot
An Aberdeenshire coach operator has spoken of his delight after councillors overwrote the Local Development Plan (LDP) to endorse his firm’s expansion.
Premier Coaches will move to a new base, adjacent to its current site at Hill of Cottown, Kintore, after winning the support of Aberdeenshire Council’s Garioch Area Committee.
Premier Coaches’ Managing Director, Alan Findlater, said: “The decision will allows us to continue to grow and develop into the future as we progress towards our ultimate aim of becoming one of the best operators in the North East of Scotland.”
The firm currently holds 15 O-licences, for a fleet of 19 coaches and 17 taxis/minibuses.
Planning permission in principle was granted for the new Premier Coaches depot – which will include a large modern office facilities, specially designed garage facilities and expansive parking areas to allow for the increasing staff and fleet requirements – subject to conditions.
According to the Press & Journal, the decision came despite reservations that the plans were a departure from the LDP.
Planners from the local authority felt there was a “compelling argument” to approve the new depot, regardless of the site location not being allocated in the 2012 LDP.
Mr Findlater said the firm, which he started in 2010, was growing too big for its current site – and he described the committee’s decision as “absolutely brilliant.”
He told CBW: “I am delighted, it has been a long, long process but it ended up very well. Hopefully, it will allow us to move forward and continue growing. We are local to the Kintore-Kemnay area and are now one of the biggest employers in the area. We have effectively outgrown our current site”.
Transport Manager, Shona McMasters told CBW: “The design and build of a purpose-built facility will allow us to move from our existing premises, which is restricting our growth, allowing us to progress and grow into the future. This is not only in terms of fleet and licences expansion but also company growth as a whole, staff retention and development and future diversification.”
West Garioch Councillor Sheena Lonchay, said: “This application is a very rare thing. It is an application which is a departure from the LDP, but backed by the planning service. I am very happy to support this application. It is a growing local business, it provides local employment, but more importantly, there are no representations, no objections. It is clearly in a location suited to this type of operation.”
Westhill and District Councillor, Ron McKail, added: “I think the message we are getting out is that Aberdeenshire is open for business.”
For more details, call Premier Coaches on 01467 642409. Visit www.premiercoaches.co.uk.