Visitors looking for a well-earned rest after a trek up Bennachie could soon be able to kick back and relax in their own glamping pod and hot tub nearby.

Councillors have backed plans for the holiday pods, which will be located on land next to Woodend of Braco.

Developers claimed the Bennachie Centre next door made the proposal the “perfect location” to encourage day-trippers to stay in the area a little longer.

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With the hill’s numerous walks and other tourist attractions nearby, it is hoped the pods will help to pull in visitors. But the plans weren’t exactly a hit with everyone.

A total of 38 objections were submitted to the local authority opposing the development. The Bailies of Bennachie objected too as they believed the history and natural environment of the beloved hill would be “severely compromised” by the pods.

Pods will come with their own hot tubs

Pods will come with their own hot tubs -Credit:John Wink Design

Cluny, Midmar and Monymusk Community Council was also against the proposal. However, there was some praise for the plan too with 27 letters of support received.

But despite these concerns, council planners recommended the proposal be approved. They believed the pods would bring economic benefits to the area by offering a longer stay for visitors.

Senior planner Neil Mair explained: “The longer someone stays in an area, the more likely they are to visit other attractions or spend money in local cafes and shops.” The application was recently considered by the Marr area committee.

How the pods could look once builtHow the pods could look once built

How the pods could look once built -Credit:John Wink Design

Jennifer Ross of agents John Wink Design spoke at the meeting to clear up any concerns. She explained that the glamping site would hopefully encourage visitors to stay longer than just a brief pit stop.

Ms Ross added: “The main appeal of this type of accommodation is that it is within a rural and fairly secluded location. Those visiting the site are seeking a peaceful break in a unique countryside setting.”

She argued there is nothing similar like this currently being offered in the area, and believed the proposal was a “desirable destination”. Ms Ross added: “This will encourage people to visit rural Aberdeenshire and contribute towards the tourism industry.”

Councillor Jeff Goodhall asked if the applicants were planning to offer camping on land next to the pods. However he was told this would not be the case as open space nearby could be used by visitors for relaxing or playing sports.

The pods include a kitchen and lounge space, a bed and a toilet and showerThe pods include a kitchen and lounge space, a bed and a toilet and shower

The pods include a kitchen and lounge space, a bed and a toilet and shower -Credit:John Wink Design

Meanwhile, councillor Gwyneth Petrie noted the objections but urged the committee to grant the proposal. She didn’t think the pods would visually hurt the landscape, but instead believed they would help to attract visitors to the area.

The ward councillor added: “We need to absolutely sell Bennachie as a tourist opportunity. We don’t do enough of this and I think this would be a widely sought-after location for tourists to come to.”

Her views were backed by the committee and the application was unanimously approved. The glamping pods will each have their own private decking area and hot tub to allow guests to make the most of the sunshine and sunsets over Mither Tap.

A communal seating area with a fire pit will also be added for visitors to enjoy a barbecue or simply sit out in the peaceful surroundings. The pods will be spaced out to ensure visitors can enjoy their privacy and the open space, with the main living spaces facing Bennachie.

Each pod will have enough room for four guests and will feature an open plan kitchen and living area, as well as a shower room. The site is also expected to be eco-friendly.

Solar panels will be installed on each pod to allow the site to run ‘off-grid’. Electric underfloor heating mats will provide heating to each pod. It is hoped the site will be open to visitors all year round, seven days a week.

published 2007-12-16 15:24:02