The subject of planning runs through much of what the Community Council does – from providing input to strategic plans and reviews, through reviewing individual planning applications for our area, to thinking about what the community needs to make it a pleasant and enjoyable place to live. This section will address the formal elements of planning – the regional strategic plan, the local development plan and local planning applications.
Different bodies have a role in the planning system. At a national level, the Scottish Government develops legislation, national policy and advice on planning. Ministers develop the National Planning Framework, approve strategic development plans and make decisions on certain types of planning applications and appeals. However, how the planning system is run is mainly the responsibility of local planning authorities. Their main roles include: preparing development plans, master plans and development briefs; processing and deciding on applications for planning permission; acting as the local review body in certain cases; and taking enforcement action if planning requirements are not kept to.
Community Councils have a formal role, too. At each development plan stage they will be told that the relevant documents have been prepared, where they can see them and, in Aberdeen at least, will be consulted on the content; Community Councils should be consulted by developers on certain applications for major and national developments and by the local authority when planning applications are submitted.
A summary of the planning process and the various key plans which are established can be found in Appendix 3. The Community Council website has a planning section and various documents relating to planning reviews in our area can be found there e.g. the ‘Criteria for Judging Planning Applications’ used by the Community Council.
- A major concern for our community is the increasing number of new houses being built or planned in the area and the impact they will have on the infrastructure and services. The Dee valley is a very desirable area in which to live on both the north and south side of the river and as such attracts developers. Unfortunately there is limited scope to improve the road network, local schools are at or close to capacity and medical services are stretched. Nearly 1000 new homes will be built over the period 2016 -2025, excluding those planned for Countesswells which at 3000 homes will be a new town. See also sections 3-5. The Community Council will be making representations to limit further development for the next Local Development Plan.
- The type of housing being put forward for development is a concern. Most recently developers have been keen to build large detached properties as they yield the highest profit margin. The community needs a mix of property types to cater for families, first time buyers and retired couples and individuals seeking to downsize while staying in the community they love and know well. The Community Council has repeatedly made the arguments for a better mix of housing and there are some signs that developers are beginning to understand the need.
- As developments are put forward, there is a gradual loss of green space particularly along the North Deeside Road (NDR) corridor. We want to preserve as much as we can of the green space which acts as a break between our three communities to maintain the feeling of individuality of our communities. See also section 5 ‘Natural Environment’. The Community Council will make sure representations to preserve the green space are put forward for the next Local Development Plan.
- Milltimber will hold a major junction to access the Aberdeen Western peripheral Route (AWPR). There is uncertainty as to how traffic volumes moving along the NDR will change once the AWPR is open. Regardless of how this transpires, a better link road between the NDR and Inchgarth Road/Garthdee is needed. This may only come through further development of green space at Inchgarth Road, highlighting that compromises between different goals will sometimes be needed. See section 3 ‘Road and Transport’.
- There is growing pressure to use the Deeside Way as an avenue for development and we wish to ensure that this well used and enjoyed path is not damaged or access restricted by requests from developers to use it. The Community Council will work with your local elected city councillors to introduce protections for the Deeside Way.
- When major developments are approved, there is a process for collecting contributions from the developer to go towards providing any additional requirements which the development may demand of services and infrastructure, e.g. additional school capacity, new or better roads, medical services, community space. There are strict rules and guidelines on what a developer can be required to pay for and contributions will generally relate to increases in capacity dictated by the new development. The Community Council is working with Aberdeen City Council to ensure that contributions collected from developments in our area are spent on needed facilities in our area.
- The Aberdeen City Planning Officers are required to consider the design and choice of building materials as part of their assessment and they will look to ensure a quality design is approved. One person’s good design might be considered by another as an eyesore so the Community Council will endeavour to ensure new development maintains a pleasing appearance in the community through its review of planning applications.
It is recognised that economic growth in Aberdeen City will need additional housing and that the Lower Deeside area will need to carry its share; the CC considers that this is more than the case. Thus we would hope to limit any further development proposals for the next 10 year period and preserve our green space as much as possible.
Community Council Objectives
To ensure that development which is proposed and undertaken in our area, benefits and enhances the community.
To ensure that planning applications get fair scrutiny and comment, when needed.
To ensure that residents have an opportunity to discuss planning applications at CC monthly meetings.
- To continue the current policy and arrangements for monitoring and evaluating all planning applications.
- To explore methods of consulting members of the community about planning applications, including questionnaires and public meetings.
- To make representations to limit further developments and about the type of housing in new developments.
- To actively contribute to the next Local Development Plan.
Views from the public would be welcome on:
- Any of the points addressed above.
- Any aspects of the planning review.
- How the Community Council communicates what is happening and how it gauges the view of the community