Planning Approval for Linnorie Business Park

The Team were initially approached by the landowner, Deans of Huntly, to find commercial design and build occupiers for office / light industrial uses on the site, an undeveloped parcel of land on a business park.

After marketing the site for some time with limited interest in these commercial uses, attention turned to see if there would be interest from occupiers for Drive-Thru’s. Given the site would require planning, which would be difficult to obtain, it was decided that a joint venture with a developer with a track record of delivery of such schemes would be beneficial. A JV was agreed with Aberdeen-based developer West Coast Estates, who wished to build a roadside development on the site comprising of two drive-thru restaurants and an electric vehicle charging hub.

G+S Planning department were enlisted to achieve the planning consent for the proposed uses, to enable the leasing to be finalised.

Why G+S

We work on a mix of commercial and residential planning projects throughout Scotland and England, providing a full range of planning services (including appeals) for both private and public sector clients

We work with specialist technical consultants and public affairs consultants to ensure that any issues (such as complaints from the public) are dealt with professionally and in good time. We are practical and business-focused, always looking for ways in which we can help our clients maximise the value of their assets.


Our Agency team came to the conclusion that there was no reasonable sized occupiers in the market for an office or industrial unit on this site. Given the location and passing traffic, it was a highly desirable drive thru / EV charging site if planning could be obtained.

Our Planning team held pre-application discussions with Aberdeenshire Council to identify views and find ways to work with the Council. Public engagement was also undertaken by an appointed public affairs consultant. Both of these processes identified that road safety was a key concern, so the project’s transport engineers were engaged to find a solution to this. G+S undertook a dedicated town centre health check of Huntly Town Centre, and socioeconomic assessment to confirm the economic impacts of the development. G+S undertook regular discussions with the planning officer to ensure the application was on track, with time extensions agreed where applicable.

Key Challenges

Agency found that key challenges arose in the planning, which is why a developer with a strong track record of public engagement and campaigning was identified as important to progress the project.

Our Planning team found overcoming the new policy framework, which is more limiting to roadside development, was a key challenge. Also dealing with community comments and transport comments about road safety issues, and ensuring a suitable and safe route for pedestrians was provided. Comments had also been made about the impact of the development on the town centre, so addressing these concerns was crucial.

Service and Added Value

Our Agency team provided the client with marketing and identification of potential Joint Venture partners to help deliver the vision for the site. The team put the JV partners together, both of whom G+S have worked with for many years. Whilst our Planning team  provided strategy advice, pre-application discussions, preparation of planning application, and socioeconomic analysis. The team held regular update meetings with the client to check in on the application progress, attending the planning committee meeting to speak on behalf of the application.


The two clients have achieved something together they could have not completed individually. One client had the site and the local contacts, whilst the other client had the contacts with the target occupiers and the professional team to deliver the planning result required.

The application received a positive recommendation from the planning officer before going to the planning committee. It was approved unanimously and planning permission was granted.

The project will create over 100 jobs, provide 8 electric vehicle superchargers, and represents around £5 million in investment.

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"The planning approval for Linnorie, Huntly, was a significant milestone in West Coast Estates mission to create dynamic spaces for communities. This achievement, born out of 18 months of focused dedication and collaborative efforts would not have been possible without our valued design team and stakeholders. Graham + Sibbald were key to this process, from the introduction of JV partner Deans of Huntly to the careful planning process throughout, managing expectations and guiding us to a successful planning outcome." Iftikar Mian of West Coast Estates