Developers behind historic plans for 280 news homes, hotel conference centre, holiday accommodation, golf course and equestrian centre at Blairs want more time before they begin the project.
Aberdeenshire Council granted permission in principle for the major development near Bieldside back in November 2010.
However, the impact of the oil and gas downturn and a subsequently depressed housing market has resulted in the development being stalled in its early stages.
Now the company behind the plans – JW Muir Group – is seeking new amended timescales from those first approved by the council, which will enable it to complete the build-out over the next five to 15 years.
In a supporting statement to the local authority’s planning service, JW Muir Group says as a result of the unforeseen delays to a start on the Blairs enabling development, they now require an extension of the time limits to allow further ‘Matters Specified in Conditions’ (MSC) applications to be submitted.
It stresses: “It is important that development at Blairs is not delayed unnecessarily any longer in order to ensure the conservation and future viability of the listed buildings at Blairs.
“In addition to allowing new house building to progress timeously at Blairs, the early submission of new MSC applications helps ensure that the timescales are not put back for the restoration and conservation of the listed buildings at Blairs.
“The development is, after all, an enabling development to help safeguard the future of the Blairs Estate and the listed buildings within it.”
Up until 1986, Blairs College and Estate served as a junior seminary for boys and young men studying for the Roman Catholic priesthood.
Part of the former college now houses Blairs Museum – the museum of Scotland’s Catholic heritage – while the New Chapel is a Category A listed building, with the other buildings listed as Category B.
The rambling 220 hectare estate was acquired by the Muir Group who sought an alternative use of the site for residential and leisure uses.