Kincluny claims denied

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Almost 100 people – including a group of local protesters - attended a consultation event outlining plans for a new sustainable village in Deeside.

Kincluny Development Trust, a social enterprise formed in September, held its first public consultation on Kincluny – billed as Scotland’s first sustainable, self-sufficient, carbon neutral, community-focused village, inspired by the North-east’s housing shortage. It wants to build 1,500 homes, as well as shops, a primary school and business units as part of the development.

The consultation at Drumoak Village Hall, led by Aberdeen-based architects Fraser Halliday Munro, took place on Thursday (November 24).

As reported in last week’s Piper, protester Robert Fowler, of The Old Manse, Drumoak, said he felt there was “plenty of land set aside for housing in Drumoak village, less than a mile away, and no need to build a village there without any infrastructure.”

He said he was not happy that Grade-A listed monument, Keith Tower, was yards away from the development and that he understood a bronze-age burial site had been bulldozed away during the quarrying of the site. He was also concerned about potential pollution of the River Dee by any effluent which might get into the system.

Bill Burr, managing director of CHAP Homes, responded to Mr Fowler’s claims, saying: “I’m astonished at this speculation, which is completely unfounded. There will certainly not be effluent coming out of Kincluny. Only clean water, if any, will go into the River Dee.

“Allegations of bulldozing a bronze-age burial site surprised me. If this had been the case, it would have been revealed in archaeological surveys we commissioned years ago, before planning permission was issued for the quarry. If Park were an ancient site, We couldn’t have quarried it in the first place. There is a burial site near Drumoak but it does not show on a map as being part of Park Quarry.

“It is correct that Keith Tower, actually a Grade-B listed monument, will be part of the new village. We are delighted about having this historical focal point and have included it in the masterplan.”

Bob Reid, planning director, Halliday Fraser Munro, said: “We actually see the lack of initial infrastructure as an advantage. We are pleased to be using a brownfield site to build upwards, instead of digging down as developers normally have to do, allowing the opportunity to incorporate a wide range of renewable technologies. New infrastructure will be introduced, such as the bridge linking north and south Deeside.

“We haven’t seen any statistics suggesting the whole village of Drumoak is against Kincluny. The last consultation was in association with the Local Development Plan, a different scenario from the process we are currently in.”

Leona McDermid, commercial director, Aberdeen Foyer, added: “Self-sufficiency means Kincluny won’t take resources away from its neighbours. It will impact positively, not negatively, on rural life.”

Mr Fowler added: “It was only last year that the council rejected it in the local plan as unnecessary and here they are, trying again. We are not taken in by the pretty watercolour picture, using the eco word or calling it sustainable, which I think in this case would be virtually impossible. To build another huge Westhill at Park Bridge, with an extra 3,000 or more cars on our roads is unthinkable.”

Kincluny Development Trust lodged a notice of intention to seek planning consent with Aberdeenshire Council.