AN Orange Order march will not go ahead in Stonehaven this weekend after an appeal failed.

Aberdeenshire Council's decision to block the event from taking place on Saturday was backed by a judge in a hearing at Aberdeen Sheriff Court on Friday.

The plans had led to a huge backlash with more than 10,000 people signing a petition calling for the parade to be banned, which was set to mark the opening of an Orange Lodge in Stonehaven.

Councillors then determined the parade could have been a threat to safety and community life, adding they had concerns over undue strain on the police force.

Greg Saunders – the advocate for The Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland that put in the appeal – stated in court he believed there to be “bias” within the “constitution of the committee in comprising local councillors,” adding: “The decree should be granted.”

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Saunders said: “The appellants wish to hold a procession in Stonehaven to mark the opening of a new Orange lodge in Stonehaven. It will be one of very few processions that will have occurred in the north east of Scotland in recent years."

Highlighting the march would only last "about 30 minutes", he added: “I appreciate that the appetite for an Orange march in Stonehaven is not universal. I am inviting your lordship to reverse this decision.”

Michael Upton, advocate for Aberdeenshire Council, described the Order’s application to have the ban overturned as having “a gaping hole” in the middle of it.

In response to Saunders describing the the council’s decision as “inadequate, unbalanced and lacking transparency”, Upton said the Order can “not like the decision, not like the reasons for the decision, but they cannot argue with its transparency”.

David Walkers, executive officer at the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland, previously rejected accusations of “anti-Catholic and anti-Irish hostility” made against the procession by the petition.

An Aberdeenshire Council spokesperson said: “We note today’s decision of the court and we will provide appropriate support to partners in Stonehaven tomorrow should it be requested.”