The Seed Box has won permission to build a new gardening skills center near Banchory to help the charity flourish.
Bosses of the organization, which has been operating since 2013, were looking for a new site after moving past its current base at the Ballogie estate near Aboyne.
Plans for the new Deeside site were submitted to Aberdeenshire Council in May and include plans for a new store, offices, storage containers, polytunnels and solar panels on land to the west of Lochside Crescent.
Neighbors unhappy with the proposal
But the proposal has divided opinion in the region.
A total of 72 people wrote to the local authority opposing the plan, but 59 pledged their support.
Opponents raised concerns about road safety and said there would be an increase in noise, pollution and litter.
Nearby residents also said the plan was contrary to the local nature conservation site and the Lochside of Leys Master Plan.
Meanwhile, supporters said it would provide opportunities for people with additional support needs and support people in a “safe and sustainable way”.
Who approved the plan?
The request was presented to the Marr region committee earlier today.
Lead planner Neil Mair made it clear that the business side of the plan posed no threat to other businesses in the area.
He said: “Retail is a very small part of that, selling freshly grown produce on lots for a charity group.
“This is not the Raemoir Garden Centre, in no way does it compete with the city centre.”
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Seed Box “delighted” with its decision
After the meeting, Belinda said the charity was “delighted” to secure planning permission for the new Lochton of Leys site.
She said: “This new site will allow us to expand our current operations and our work helping people with additional support needs.
“We are currently in the process of securing the remaining funding we need to continue the project.”
The Seed Box thanked Leys Estate and DWR for helping with the project.
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[The Seed Box “delighted” to get go-ahead for new Banchory site]