The formal planning application for a housing development on site OP51 off Cornyhaugh Road and the Shoddy is now open for us all to comment upon. This will be for a residential development including a mix of private, affordable and retirement housing consisting of approximately 112 homes with associated access roads and landscaping.
The application number is 180262. Full details of the application together with all the documents relating to the application can be viewed on the Aberdeen City Council website – click the links below.
Comments must be received by Planning by 22 March.
There was a public exhibition by the applicant on 29 January 2018. The proposal has been modified significantly as a result of the feedback received [see “Consultation Response Report”]
Please note: the feedback so many of you provided at the exhibition does not form part of the formal review of the full application; you need to write to Planning, making either the same points as before, or different comments if your views have changed in light of the revised scheme.
What is the scheme now proposed?
There are now 112 homes in total rather than 142; the retirement flats are now at the western side of the site; and the majority of the other homes are 3-bedroom houses. See the proposed layout below.
The buildings are now a maximum of two-and-a-half storey above the main site. The retirement flats take advantage of the drop in levels to the west to accommodate more storeys whilst keeping the roof-line at two storeys seen from the main part of the site. See “Site Sections” below.
Road access to the site is to be via the Shoddy, made up to proper standard with a pavement, and with a pedestrian and cycling route along from Cornyhaugh Road which also allows emergency-services access.
The application includes the following assessments, and their key messages:
- design & access and planning statements – these set out how the scheme complies with the Strategic Development Plan (City and Shire), Aberdeen Local Development Plan 2017, and the associated policies. The City needs 8000 new homes by 2022, has been falling over 30% behind planned building rates for the past 5 years, and has targets to use brownfield sites (like this one, which was previously a mill tip)
- flood risk assessment – this shows that the lowest levels proposed to be developed (the lower end of the retirement flats) are 6 metres above the 200-year flood level predicted for the Culter Burn (Leuchar Burn) running round the south side of the site. Assessment of storm drainage within the site will be needed once the details of the scheme have been determined
- ground investigation report & remedial preparatory works specification – this shows that the mill waste will require piled foundations and other measures to support roads and services, and sets out a specification for ground works to deliver a safe scheme. The specification includes providing 600mm of clean soil in all gardens
- visual impact statement – this sets out how the site will look, with the highest buildings (two and a half storeys, that is, with the third floor having velux or dormer windows set within the roof) in the centre of the site, and green space concentrated round the outside of the built area
- transport assessment – the Malcolm Road/A93 junction is already operating a little over preferred capacity at peak times, based on traffic counts in January this year; the new development will add little to this loading (with fewer than 80 homes for working-age occupants, alongside some 2500 homes elsewhere in Culter, this makes sense); a 10% reduction in traffic along Malcolm Road would bring the junction within preferred capacity, and AWPR is intended to reduce traffic by over 90%. The City Roads department will be checking this assessment carefully
- tree survey – virtually all existing trees are outside the proposed area of development. Attention will be needed during construction to protect those trees nearest to activity and to avoid damage to the woodland habitats
The scheme is on a site designated for residential development in the Local Development Plan (LDP). The LDP provides for 19 homes on the site, although that number falls foul of current Council policy which requires at least 30 homes per hectare – a figure the scheme meets.
How does this fit with the thoughts and concerns we have heard?
Use of the site – this site is zoned for residential development, so the authorities will be inclined to approve some form of development, rather than leaving the site as waste ground – which some of you feel is a mess, and some like as it is because it is green.
Many of you have told us over the years, and at the Gala, and after the public exhibition, that Culter needs new homes for growing families. This is the only site in Culter with room for more than 8 houses, so if we reject this or similar proposals, we force our young families to move to Milltimber or Cults – if they can afford it – or move much further away.
The other side of this question is that no-one likes having new development next door, and a number of our community will be affected by this proposal.
How does the impact on neighbours balance with this sole opportunity to provide more homes in the village for our growing families?
Design of the proposal – the proposal is for 112 homes, consisting of 42 retirement flats and 14 bungalows for over-55s (both of which types could tempt Culter residents who like the idea of moving somewhere smaller and modern, thereby freeing up houses elsewhere in the village), plus 44 3-bedroom houses (a mix of 2-storey, townhouse and Affordable) and 12 Affordable flats.
Some of you expressed concerns at the public exhibition about the height of the buildings. They are now two-and-a-half storey or less, and the majority are arranged to take advantage of light from the south. Some of you wanted to see a smaller development; this is now 112 homes, and almost at the minimum required by planning policy (which is to avoid sprawl and reduce travel distances). If planning permission is granted, then any subsequent attempt to increase numbers of homes would require a new planning application.
Do we support this scheme for providing a mix of new homes suitable for growing families and for retired folk, or object to it and await a proposal of 5-bedroom detached houses or 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom flats?
Environmental impacts – the applicant has shown awareness of the environmental quality of the Culter Burn (Leuchar Burn) area, and has proposed measures to limit the impacts both during construction, and from the final scheme which leaves the lower shelves largely untouched and is to have lighting designed to minimise light spillage into those areas. New soil is proposed for the gardens.
Are the proposed measures together with appropriate enforcement appropriate, or are there other measures you want to see taken?
Access and roads – the scheme is to have a properly-built road and pavement in from the Shoddy, and pedestrian, cycle and emergency-vehicle access along to Cornyhaugh Road. The junction design from the Shoddy onto Malcolm Road complies with the usual codes, and Roads department appear to be comfortable. Transport Scotland tells us AWPR will reduce traffic on Malcolm Road by over 90%. Including the traffic from this scheme, Malcolm Road will still be far-quieter than today even if the Transport Scotland estimate proves optimistic.
Are the proposals for access and roads sufficient, or are there other measures you want to see taken?
Local and village facilities – the scheme provides lots of gardens, and a reasonable amount of public open space within the scheme, and is to include improved access to the wilder areas around the housing. The proposal sets out an arrangement with Culter Youth Football Club to support their relocation to a site where they can have an all-weather pitch. Occupants will add to the school roll, and more-so to the calls upon the health centre – the scheme will add about 5% to the number of homes already in Culter.
Does anything need to be done to enable the school and the health centre to adjust to 5% more attendees over the next 5 years or so?
What you need to do now
Please write to Planning (details on how to do this below), whether you approve of the scheme, hate it, or think it would be just about acceptable provided X or Y were changed.
It will be very helpful to the Community Council in representing the views of you the community if you would also copy us your response – but if you only do one thing, respond to Planning by 22 March!
How to make your views known
For your ‘representation’ (comment) to be considered by the system, you must:
- show your name and full address
- quote the application number, 180262
- make clear in your own words what you do or do not like about the proposals
How to get your voice heard? You can post comments on the Council’s website via a tab on the specific application, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org (which also makes it easy to copy our Councillors, and us in CCC too, if you are willing to do this) or by conventional letter sent to:
Planning and Sustainable Development
Aberdeen City Council
Business Hub 4
Telephone 01224 523470 or look up https://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/services/planning-and-building/planning-applications/comment-planning-application#1783 for help on the mechanics of making your comment.
Andy Roberts, Planning Liaison Officer, Culter Community Council