‘Significantly contrary’

Park Quarry: Aerial view
Park Quarry: Aerial view

The SDPA has described the planning application for Kincluny as being “significantly contrary” to the Strategic Developent Plan.

The consultation response from the Aberdeen City and Shire Strategic Development Planning Authority (SDPA) was made public on January 15, and opposes some key points in Chap Group’s application to build a 1,500-home community on the Park Quarry site.

Kincluny: Masterplan image

Kincluny: Masterplan image

The response acknowledges that much has been done to make the development attractive, but states in the beginning: “It is the principle of the new village (eg significant housing and employment land) on an unallocated site in the countryside and the claim that there is a significant shortage of housing delivery that are the primary focus of this response.”

With regards to the Strategic Development Plan, the document reads: “The applicant’s ‘Planning Supporting Statement’ doesn’t try to argue that the application is consistent with the SDP but tries to argue that the strategy is wrong and not delivering housing at the rate required.

“However, the strategy was approved less than two years ago and none of the arguments presented by the applicant were persuasive then and are no more convincing now.

“The development plan is the most appropriate place to consider the need for new housing and employment land and the allocation of specific sites, not applications for planning permission.”

Under other observations the response said that it was not clear whether the development would sterilise access to mineral reserves at Park Quarry, and questioned how a high quality public transport service could be provided for a 1,500-home settlement given the location.

It concluded by stating that there was not enough “robust evidence” presented to suggest additional housing land was required, and that the application is “significantly contrary” to the Aberdeen City and Shire Strategic Development Plan which is “up-to-date and relevant”,

In response, Douglas Thomson, joint managing director of Chap Group, said: “As with all formal responses made to Aberdeenshire Council on the Kincluny Village planning application, Chap will of course look carefully at the comments made and address these points, where applicable, through the application process.

“As we have indicated from the outset, we are fully aware that whilst the Park Quarry site is not allocated within the proposed Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan (LDP), the proposals provide a real opportunity to regenerate not only a Brownfield site in the heart of Deeside but assist the council in addressing a shortfall in number of homes actually delivered under their own LDP.

“These homes will also be built in an area where the planning authority’s own housing figures concerning need and affordability outline Deeside as one of the worst affordability ‘black spots’ in the whole of the Aberdeen housing market area.

“Importantly the Kincluny proposals would deliver a mix of new homes, including 500 affordable, with the appropriate facilities and infrastructure to support it, all of which would be delivered in a phased manner in the short to medium term.”

The SDPA’s response will now be considered by members of the relevant committee, along with all the other consultee responses before they make a decision. If the developer is unhappy with that planning decision for any reason, they can appeal to the Scottish Government.

Back in August at a special meeting of the CDDCC, to which Chap Group were invited and Kincluny was the one topic of debate, a survey of residents was presented which concluded that 91 per cent of residents opposed the new village.

In a letter to the Piper on the subject of the SDPA’s response, former CDDCC chair David Morrish wrote: “The planning authority is clearly as confused as the rest of us as to why Chap would spend so much time and effort on something so clearly at odds with what has been decided through our local planning process and documented in our local plans.”

The Kincluny Village proposal includes 1,500 new homes, a third of which are to be affordable which means available to buy or rent below the level of the market, a village square, 10 acres of employment land, a community hub, and a recreational space.