Planning Application 130400 – Erection of Class 4 three-storey office development measuring

Dear Sir or Madam

Planning Application 130400  – Erection of Class 4 three-storey office development measuring 17,129 sq m (excluding basement), 425 car parking spaces, associated infrastructure, access, landscaping and ancillary works

Kingswells Community Council wish to make the following comments on this application.

o   Externally, the building architecture is uninspiring – essentially an elongated glass shoe-box.

o   The exit slip road comes far too close to the lodge house for Kingswells House causing serious amenity impact to a historic building.

o   The removal of 13 mature/semi-mature trees along the A944 is completely unacceptable – far too many trees have been lost already due to developments at Prime 4 and roadworks at Kingswells roundabout. 

o   While some of the landscaping proposals look good, the diversion of the Den Burn to a ditch at the rear of the building is unimaginative.  Here it will be lost to view and have poor visual continuity with the burn and water features at Prime 4.  The Den Burn should be routed along the front of the building to add interest and enhance the landscaping.

o   The development is isolated from Prime 4, giving a lack of continuity and poor access to the park-and-ride and bus stops on the A944 (see below)

o   The entrance onto the A944 will have unacceptable traffic impacts, especially exiting left at evening peak time when the A944 is already jammed with traffic. We are not convinced that current road developments at the Kingswells roundabout will significantly alleviate this problem. (see below)

o   Traffic exiting from the site wishing to go to Westhill will have to travel back to the Kingswells roundabout to access the opposite carriageway. Traffic from the city will have to travel to the Westhil roundabout then travel back to the entry of the site. This will cause unacceptable and an unnecessary increase in the volume of traffic on the A944  (see below)

KCC is not convinced by the Transport Assessment presented in this application. It severely underestimates the journeys by car, and overestimates journeys by other means.

The site is developed out of phase and suffers from being disconnected from the main Prime Four site and too distant from bus stops. Consequently, the expectations for bus travel will be over-estimated as public will not use the bus as expected if they are faced with excessive distances by foot between the office and the bus stop. The TA should explain how it is to address the deficiency rather than ignoring the issues. The provision of a footpath to nowhere is not a solution. If people are discouraged from using other modes of transport at the beginning of the development then it will be difficult to re-address the balance at a later date.

The TA assumes spare capacity in the provision of road improvements provided by Prime Four, but this capacity will be used by the main Prime Four development. This TA needs to assume that any ‘spare’ provision is fully used by Prime Four. This development was not included in the area considered when assessing the remedial works required to accommodate additional road users for the initial phases of the Prime Four development.

Under provision of parking spaces is irresponsible design. The car journeys generated by this development should be accommodated  in the development. The use of the Park and Ride as an extension to the car parking provision for this site is totally unacceptable. Experience from the consultation with Prime Four indicates that even when the maximum car parking provision is provided it is difficult to achieve target journeys by other means. The TA infers that providing less car parking capacity is better than providing more, but makes no provision to increase the uptake in other modes of transport. As indicated above the site is already at a disadvantage for encouraging other modes of transport. This does not represent a high class development which is a prerequisite of the Masterplan.

The concept of providing a dedicated access onto the A944 for one office block in the Prime Four Development is not acceptable. Overall there should be two access roads from this main Prime four development onto the A944. The conversion of a low capacity existing entrance at the Vet to a main entrance like that proposed is not desirable for the traffic flow. During the consultation the developer was asked to talk to Drum to negotiate a shared access that could be used by this development and the wider Prime Four development. This obviously has not been done. This development is part of the wider development and must use the access roads for that development. The development should be included in the masterplan and developed properly. Piecemeal development is not acceptable. Neither is it acceptable that this developer is trying to bring the development on too quickly and is not prepared to mitigate the impact of the development in any way – this is echoed throughout the TA.

During the roadworks for Prime Four evidence shows that drivers are not prepared to drive to Westhill Roundabout to do a U-turn. They endanger their lives and the lives of others by performing U-turn manoeuvres at other less safe locations. The proposed access to the site from the east is totally unacceptable. If this is the best that can be provided the development should be delayed until after the provision of the Kingswells South Junction road network. Ideally the access should be within the development, or as part of a main access to the Prime Four development.

Kind regards

Kingswells Community Council