The three villages of Cults, Bieldside and Milltimber (CBM) are still, just, geographically distinct and their outer boundaries are those of the community council. The southern boundary is the River Dee (which is also the City-Aberdeenshire boundary); to the west is the boundary with Peterculter; to the north the A944 (Aberdeen to Westhill road) and to the East lies Mannofield – see Figure 1 . The new Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route goes through the CBM area close to the west boundary and the northern part is mainly forestry and agriculture. The North Deeside Road, the primary route through the area, is the main bus route and the majority of housing is either side of this road. The landform of the Dee Valley means that most of the area is on a South facing slope. As successive housing developments have moved further from the main road this has encouraged a preference for car use over public transport and pedestrians can be faced with steep side roads. Another issue is the potential loss of individual identity of the three communities as there is progressive loss of greenspace with new housing and other developments.
Cults, Bieldside and Milltimber are suburbs of Aberdeen City and were incorporated into it in 1975. All three villages are primarily residential and the total population is 11,390 1 with a higher than average elderly population, with 13.3% over 65 years of age and 6.1% over 80 (compared to 10.8% and 4.2% for Aberdeen City as a whole)2. See figure 2.
There are an estimated 4,202 dwellings3. However there are a number of housing developments – see table below. Countesswells is a major development and will have more houses than Cults and Bieldside combined and include both a primary and secondary school, a health centre and retail outlets. Even excluding Countesswells there will be a significant increase in population of up to 15%.
The CBM area is, overall, comparatively wealthy with Bieldside in particular being one of wealthiest areas in Scotland – home to the most millionaires per postcode outside London. In terms of household income, CBM has an average of £60,250, compared to the average for Aberdeen of £30,7354.
Health indicators demonstrate that the population of CBM has the best health of any area in Aberdeen. With regard to social deprivation, as measured using the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation5 (divided into 7 categories) CBM, overall is in the lowest category of deprivation when all 7 categories are combined and averaged. However in one category, ‘Access to Services Domain’6, some small areas within the CBM overall area are classified as deprived based on car and bus journey times to essential services 5. Unemployment rate is the lowest in Aberdeen.
However, although most residents in the CBM area are well-off, healthy and live in a pleasant environment, it should be remembered that use of averages can hide the needs of small groups in a community and also the apparently well-off can have serious issues – loneliness and hidden alcoholism to name but two.
One of the special features of the area is the presence of three communities supporting people with learning disabilities and other support needs – Camphill School, Newton Dee Community and Simeon Care for the Elderly.
CBM Community Council
Community Councils, which are statutory bodies, set up by an Act of Parliament and established by Local Authorities, are the most local tier of statutory representation in Scotland. They bridge the gap between local authorities and communities and help to make public bodies aware of the opinions and needs of the communities they represent. They receive annual grants from the City Council. Community Councillors are all volunteers who have an interest in their local area and who have been elected by their local communities. Their term of office is 3 years. They have no executive powers.
The primary purpose of the Cults, Bieldside and Milltimber Community Council (CBMCC) is to ascertain, co-ordinate and express the views of the community to the Aberdeen City Council and other public bodies. The CBMCC expresses views both on matters on which it is formally consulted (major strategic plans, planning applications, transport, waste management etc.) but also on any matter affecting the community. The Community Council is also involved in a wide range of other activities such as reviewing and improving local footpaths, supporting the MBC Festival and organising an annual carol concert – see www.cbmcommunity.org.uk for more details. CBMCC has 19 members, including a youth member.
Views are specifically invited on the following:
- How important is it to retain a separate identity for each of the three communities – Cults, Bieldside and Milltimber?
- Are there any topics or matters which the Community Council is not currently addressing and which you believe it should?
Notes/References: For 1-5 below see http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/tourism_visitor_attractions/tourists_visitors/statistics/stt_Home.aspces.
- 2015 Population Estimates – Aberdeen City Neighbourhoods. Aberdeen City Council.
- At a glance..…… Neighbourhood population structures, 2015. Aberdeen City Council.
- 2011 data increase proportionally to increase in population.
- At a glance..…… Household income by neighbourhood, 2015 Aberdeen City Council.
- Deprivation in Aberdeen City. Measured in terms of income, employment, health, education/skills, housing, crime and access to services. An Analysis of the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation 2016. Aberdeen City Council.
- Based on drive times to GP, Petrol Station, Post Office, Primary School, Secondary School, retail centre and public transport time to GP, Post office and retail centre.
- The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation. http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/SIMD