Portgordon split as Councillors set to visit planning site

Development site in Portgordon.

Portgordon residents are set to make their feelings known of a local planning issue when Councillors attend a site visit in the village today.

Controversy has raged over plans to create a new boatyard and cafe in the village, with two groups formed in the village fight for and against the proposals.

Initial plans by landowner Gemma Campbell for an extensive revamp on the village shoreline included nine new homes and an array of solar panels as well as a cafe and the boatyard. However, after talks with local MSP Richard Lochhead and a community group formed to oppose the plans, Ms Campbell withdrew her original application.

New plans were drawn up and have been supported by a second group set up to support the plans they say will provide a much needed boost to tourism and industry in the area. However, these plans are now set to be recommended for rejection by council planning officials – and that has sparked plans for a protest in the village.

Planning Officer Neal McPherson has said that the boatyard proposal is against the terms of the Moray Local Plan, adding that it would be “detrimental to the coastal landscape”.

He admitted that while a boatyard had existed on the proposed site over 50 years ago nothing now remained of that structure.

Maureen Burrows is one of the leaders of those supporting the plan, insisting that it would have a positive effect on businesses along the coast. She added: “We need to look at the bigger picture and what we are offering for the youth of the village – there is huge support for it.”

While the previous application had attracted a number of objections the proposal before the Council now has recorded 38 objections but 42 notes of support.

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