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 and Guidance, 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 adhered 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.
The 2019 Planning (Scotland) Act has introduced the concept of “Local Place Plans” which would allow Community Councils and other community bodies to develop a plan for a piece of land or a building. The necessary guidance from the Scottish Government is still awaited but CBMCC is already discussing with other CCs and ACC how Local Place Plans will be implemented and their format and processes.
1. 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 are being 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 representations to limit further development in the next Local Development Plan (ALDP2022) were largely accepted by the City Council in approving the proposed ALDP2020.
2. 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.
3. 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 (and with Peterculter) to maintain the feeling of individuality of our communities. See also section 5 ‘Natural Environment’. The Community Council will make representations to preserve green space.
4. Milltimber holds a major junction to access the Aberdeen Western peripheral Route (AWPR). We now have a better idea of how the AWPR has affected traffic along the NDR. However, significant local traffic from the Eastern end of our area will continue to head towards Anderson Drive and Bridge of Dee so 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’.
5. There has been 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. Following representations from the CC and the community, in 2019 ACC introduced formal restrictions on all vehicle movements on the Deeside Way apart from Council and statutory utility vehicles and essential access by existing householders for property maintenance.
6. The CC rarely intervenes in domestic planning applications unless we are aware that a proposal is causing widespread concern to neighbours. If it is inappropriate in scale or will affect light or safe traffic movement (for example), this usually becomes obvious on first review and we may make a comment to the ACC planner involved. A formal objection from the CC forces the application to be referred to the ACC Planning Development Management Committee.
7. 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 must relate closely to increases in capacity dictated by the new development. They must also cover only capital improvements and not additional running costs. 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. As part of this we intend to make proposals for such contributions as early as possible in the planning process.
8. 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 that 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. However, it is important to bear in mind that future housing will need to be extremely energy-efficient and may look rather different from traditional homes.
9. The South side of the Dee valley and the northern edge of the CBM area lie in Aberdeenshire so we also need to keep an eye on developments which could directly affect our amenity or be very visible. We have added our support to Aberdeenshire Council in rejecting a number of such proposals from their proposed LDP2021.
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 engage vigorously with the ACC and National Planning process.
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.
• Where new developments are supported, request that appropriate infrastructure improvements are included in the plans and press for mixed house types for a diverse community.
• To seek better deployment of developer contributions to benefit the wider community.
• To contribute as appropriate to the Public Examination of the proposed ALDP2020 during 2021.
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
If you would like to comment please add them below or click here to open a response sheet file. This will allow you to complete and send your response by email to email@example.com or by post to CBMCC at: 188 North Deeside Road, Milltimber, AB13 0HL. All comments, however received, will be collated anonymously and acted upon as appropriate. Your identity will not be disclosed.