Response from Kingswells Community Council on West Huxterstone Application

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Response from Kingswells Community Council

 

Planning Application 130288

Proposed Construction Of 10 Detached Units,

28 Semi-Detached Units and 11 Terrace Houses

with associated access roads, drainage and SUDS basin

 

 

1.      Enterprise, Planning and Infrastructure Committee decision

 The masterplan for this development went to Environment, Planning and Infrastructure Committee on the 6th November 2012. The committee decision was taken to try and resolve some of the contentious issues prior to a planning application. The Enterprise, Planning and Infrastructure Committee resolved:-

to approve the recommendation, subject to the following revisions:-

“(i)         allow for the possibility of two exists to be made onto Fairley Road as a possible alternative to exiting onto the old Lang Stracht;

(ii)        instruct officers to look at a range of options for affordable housing rather than restrict this to any one type;  and

(iii)       phase the site development in conjunction with advice from the Education, Culture and Sport Service.” 

It is with real dissatisfaction and frustration that KCC have had no feedback on these issues, from developers or planning officials, since then. It appears that this decision has been ignored by the developers and their justifications for this planning application has been accepted and left unchallenged by ACC planners.

2.      Application for 49 houses 

This application is part of a Masterplan for a 120 home development and as such must contribute to the planning process as if it were a major planning application,

5.9 When considering the development of sites Aberdeen Local Development Plan Policy I1 – Infrastructure Delivery and Developer Contributions indicates that development must be accompanied by the infrastructure, services and facilities required to support new or expanded communities and the scale and type of developments proposed. Developer contributions will be the subject of negotiation at the time any planning application is made. In this context, the cumulative effects of development of each site on the local community should also be considered. 

Consequently, the development must contribute to Aberdeen’s stock of affordable housing and any other liabilities based on a proportion of the Master planned development.

3.      Contravening the masterplan principles  – Phasing of development 

It is stated in the masterplan 9.0 Phasing and delivery that development should be phased as staggered building is crucial for adequate education provision. KCC suggested a phased plan which would see all children accommodated at Kingswells Primary School.   

There is no acknowledgement of phasing in this application and, within the site; another separate planning application from Stewart Milne Group is still to be presented. It would be gross negligence if ACC allowed both developers to build simultaneously without constricts of a phased agreement.  

4.      Developer Gain will not resolve the problem of education provision 

It is absolutely clear that Kingswells Primary School can only accommodate more children if house building at West Huxterstone is delayed until 2016 and is phased as demonstrated in our Masterplan response. We are now in a situation where normal methods to mitigate overcrowding will no longer work at Kingswells as the primary school building has now been extended into the original playground and there is no land available for further short-term or permanent extension. At Kingswells, future overcrowding cannot be simply solved through asking for developer contribution. Further house building at this time in Kingswells will severely compr;omise the quality of education for children in an already very large, constricted primary school.

5.      Sewer 

There is a sewer running parallel to Fairley Road. The development should take due account of the sewer.

6.      Contravening the masterplan principles – open spaces 

This planning application does not comply with the Masterplan – 4. Guidance Principles. There are no series of green spaces which will be linked by a network of landscaping /  Landscaping and open space requirements will be accommodated in the overall layout, within which the general philosophy will be to create “streets” and “places” rather than “roads”.”

7.      Gateway Opportunity 

The Master plan calls for the entrance from Fairley Road to incorporate a Gateway Opportunity. The current application makes no allowance.

The site is split further into character areas, as shown on Figure 18. The op­portunity for ‘gateway features’ over and above those found on standard plots exist at a number of important corners/thresholds in the development. The masterplan indicates generic house footprints either side of these threshold-junctions which are generally symmetrical. The masterplan also indicates a variation in ground scape and the use of shared surfaces at these points. The perspectives which are positioned to indicate such locations, indicate these attributes (symmetry and groundscape), and also indicate that the low level front garden boundary treatment is continued around the corner to the rear gar­den and that windows in adjoining public rooms are shown on these corner ele­vations. All of these steps have been taken to both ‘turn corners’ and create a focus at these points as part of the syntax of the overall development. Each gateway will be formed by a paired symmetrical grouping of housetypes. They will be rendered in a contrasting finish and will have different contrasting roof and door colours at each location to emphasis them as a focal point within the setting of the overall development

8.      Home Zones 

The Master plan calls for the roads within the development to incorporate home zones. The current application makes no allowance.

 

Fairley Road Character Area

The houses facing Fairley Road will be of a similar typology of those found elsewhere along the street as demonstrated in Figure 22. They will formally face the street and will utilise a simple palette of materials and detailing complemented, where practical, by rebuilt drystane dykes and formal tree plant­ing forming their front gardens. The houses either side of this area’s entrance will be selected to respond to the ‘gateway’ opportunity.

 

The home zones utilise areas of shared surfaces bounded by hedging. These areas in turn are defined by a series of terraced blocks which are arranged to formally demarcate a square. The house types entering these areas are laid out to be symmetrical and to frame that threshold. Such arrangements are illustrat­ed on the indicative perspective of the eastern square and is an indication of the approach which will have to be adopted for these spaces.



9.      Other aspects of the Master Plan that have been ignored

 

4.1 Guiding Principles

Through the site analysis and public consultation, proposals have developed and these are described in the following sections. The following principles have guided this Masterplan:

     Traditional villages are successful due to their use of both green and “urban” spaces. Such spaces assist the legibility of their community due to the association of streets with a sense of place.

     The development of the site will be based on a series of green spaces which will be linked by a network of landscaping. The southern edge of the site will enjoy clusters or strands of trees to create a more open “parkland” environment, whilst denser shelter belt planting will be utilised around the eastern perimeter of the site.

     Landscaping and open space requirements will be accommodated in the overall layout, within which the general philosophy will be to create “streets” and “places” rather than “roads”.

     The “streets” and “places” created will be aligned with groups of housing. Building lines are an important consideration in the design of successful development and will ensure the creation of a “street”.

 

4.2 First Thoughts

The initial analytical proposals for the site which were considered important to achieve the masterplan vision include the following and are demonstrated below and on page 11:

     Retention of the Den Burn and the Green Space Network along it to avoid the risk of flooding, to create and benefit from an attractive area and the creation of a landscaped SUDs basin towards the lower part of the site.

     Creation of a new shelter belt to the east of the site to provide appropri­ate screening of the development and to soften the development in terms of long distance views from the Lang Stracht and the A944.

     Enhancement of the buffers to the east of the site.

     Provision of an appropriate density of housing whilst retaining quality public green space.

 

     Creation of a series of linked public spaces lined with trees to allow green space to flow through the heart of the site.

     Creation of an easily accessible public green space to the south of the site.

     Principal vehicular access to the site to be provided from Fairley Road with a secondary vehicular access point from the Lang Stracht. Alternatively, consideration may be given to two access points from Fairley Road. Pedestrian and cycle access to be provided alongside vehicular accesses and through the landscaped area to the south of the site.

     Integration of the development within the context of Kingswells village by reinforcing the building lines with the surrounding developments along the Lang Stracht. The development should face outwards at these points.

     Reinforcement of the rural character of these interfaces by means of street side planting, front garden enclosures and in selected locations, hedges and stone dykes.

     The landscape framework will be supported by appropriately scaled and designed house types, which will be created using the established pattern of field boundaries, reflecting the character of Kingswells.


10.  Conclusion


The planning application does not comply with the Masterplan. The application demonstrates how 49 homes can be squeezed into the space available without any regard to provide any community green space. This is a case of building houses – not communities.

The planning application does not adequately take account of the requirements of Environment, Planning and Infrastructure Committee on the 6th November 2012.

 The comments made by KCC on the assessment of the second access from Fairly Road must be considered, and a fully independent assessment must be made. If the only reason for not proceeding with this option is that there will be less housing achievable then this is not adequate justification.

Kingswells Community Council request that this application is refused at this time.

 

Attachments

  1. KCC Response Planning Application 130288 Dandara (450.7 KiB)
    Full comments with images

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