Aberdeen expansion plan put on the map

A MAP that could shape the face of Aberdeen over the next two decades has finally been published.

Almost a year after the fiasco that saw the city's previous local plan abandoned, city planners have come up with a vision of how Aberdeen should expand.

brownfield site

They have allocated space for 14,500 new homes, mostly on undeveloped green-belt land, as well as several industrial developments.

The move will come as a relief to some, but has already been greeted with dismay by others.

Although the allocations are not finalised, some residents have described the proposals as "incredible" and horrendous" and have warned of potential traffic catastrophies if the infrastructure to match does not materialise.

Planns, however, will be breathing a sigh of relief as months of intensive work reaches its final stages.

The pressure on them was twofold.

They have had to carry out several consultation exercises in an attempt to restore public faith in the city's planning process, all the while aware that fast work was vital to plug a gap that left developers more likely to force through contentious planning applications.

Developers were guarded at hearing the news yeterday but broadly welcomed the proposals.

The council has allocated land for some developments that have already been taken to appeal, and some councillors condemned the attempts to push through plans before the council had worked out how it wanted the city to expand.

Meanwhile, councillors and kockeying for position as they strive to ensure that their constituents get the best deal possible when the plan is officially completed.

However, some predicted that there would not be much room for manoeuvre within the map published yesterday.

Alan Stott, vice-chairman of Kingswell Community Council, said the news was "worse than expected". He had particular concerns about 600 homes planned after 2010.

He promised his community would fight as hard as it had done to block now-abandoned plans for a new stadium for Aberdeen Football Club at the Bellfield site near Kingswells.

Bill Roadnight, of Cults, Bielside and Milltimber Community Council, was "angry and concerned" that the "one bit of open, green space" in the area, at Cults Academy, could be lost, with plans to move the school to a nearby site at Friarsfield.

The area facing the biggest development lies just north of the Parkway, in Bridge of Don, where 2,800 homes could be built in two stages.

Colin Henderson, of Bridge of Don Community Council, said: "I can predict what response there will be - people will be dumbstruck by its size."

Dominic Farlie, director of Scotia Homes, said: "Not having a local plan has been bad for developers and the council.

This is better for us because we know where development is likely to be accepted, so it speeds the process up, and for the council, because it can factor in planning gains, such as asking for certain amounts of affordable housing or whatever, in developments."

Cults councillor Aileen Malone's response was similar to that of other elected members as she fought her ward's corner.

"Cults is already bursting at the seams as far as the medical centre, primary schools and the academyt," Ms Malone said.

"Any new homes will have to see those new facilities in place to accommodate them."

Friends of the Earth Aberdeen vice-co-ordinator Gregor McAbery said: "We remain a bit sceptical about the proportion of development proposed for green-belt sites when we have a regeneration strategy that is likely to free up additional brown-field sites in areas well served by public transport."

The Press and Journal, 24.01.2004

Further News Articles »