I have had some response regarding the issues which were raised at the last Community Council Meeting and in regard of the Hydrogen Re-Fuelling Site. The following is the information I have currently received:
Hydrogen Re-Fuelling – the Officers tell me that at this stage, the refuelling site at Kingswells Park and Ride is currently a proposal. Officers are working with BOC and the bus companies to determine the most appropriate site for the refuelling site. The main consideration to determine where the refuelling site will be is that it must be on the route that the hydrogen buses are operating on. The Kingswells P & R is being considered as the 10 hydrogen buses are operating on the First Bus No 40 Park & Ride service and Stagecoach’s Aberdeen – Westhill service. A decision on the refuelling site will be made after a technical feasibility study will be undertaken in the next few months. If the Kingswell Park and ride is considered the best site for the refuelling site, the station will require planning permission and therefore will undergo public consultation. We will consult with the Kingswells community council as part of this consultation process. An important factor in deciding the site for the proposed refuelling site will be the impact on residents and users of adjacent sites. Therefore apart from the proximity to the hydrogen bus routes, the proximity to housing and the impact on existing users will be considered as part of the decision making process.
Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) will be selecting the wind farm that will be used for the Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project. At this stage, SSE is considering a number of existing wind farms in Aberdeenshire. They will not be proposing to build a wind turbine next to any proposed hydrogen refuelling site.
The ‘Event’ at the P&R – the Officers tell me they have the discretion to authorise alternative uses of the Park & Ride site for events that are not commercial in nature. In this case the use was authorised on the basis that it was described as ‘a small gathering as a memorial to a friend who lost his life earlier this year’. The Officers allege they were led to believe that the police were aware of it and that it would only be for a short period early in the evening. It seemed innocuous enough, but clearly what took place was not what was envisaged or described to them and in hindsight it probably a mistake to allow it in this case.
The site has been used for a number of uses over the past 18 months and up to now all have taken place without incident or indeed people being aware that they have actually occurred. It is unfortunate that this one led to some noise and disruption although the Officer claims they were not aware from their Public Transport colleagues of any damage caused. The Council try to make a best judgement on these things and have to take any request on face value so it is very disappointing when something like this occurs. The Officer stated that they were in contact with the Public Transport Unit to see if Aberdeen City Council can tighten up the assessment process, even if it means that we have to reject some potential uses that may be suitable but we’re not 100% sure.
Extensive Road Works – I met with one of the Senior Officers regarding the extensive road works associated with the Prime 4 Development. These include adding carriageways, increasing the circumference of the existing roundabout, all designed to ease access and egress to and from the Prime 4 site whilst being aware of access and egress issues for the residents of Kingswells. There would appear to be four groups involved in this exercise, viz. Aberdeen City Council, the Developers and the Contractors. Aberdeen City Council were responsible for ensuring the warning signs were turned off when misleading messages were being conveyed to residents of Kingswells and other users of the Aberdeen to Westhill road. Council Officers are ensuring that they keep on top of the developers and their contractors to minimise disruption and to ensure, if possible, that no contraflows are introduced on this road during the major roadworks which will take place. Equally they are closely engaged to maintain minimum disruption by being intimately involved in the planning for the ‘phasing’ of the work
Grass Cutting: I enquired as to if there was a grass cutting schedule and why the Council did not collect the grass cuttings in the same way the Housing Association contractors appeared to do. The response re the schedule was that there is a grass cutting schedule but it is a massive document. They further asked if a sample be sufficient? They further indicated that they were currently looking at updating the schedule by updating and simplifying on to the Council’s GIS mapping system but it will be next year before this is complete. Throughout the Ward I have been pursuing officers in respect of issues such as the grass cuttings which are left in a dangerous manner, blocking of drains with grass cuttings and the like, which I will continue to pursue as I would like to see an alternative proactive approach in 2013 to minimise the major grass cutting issues which we have all experienced in 2012.
Councillor for theKingswells and Sheddocksley Ward