Plans Lodged for New Community of Countesswells

13th May 2014

Countesswells is an exciting and sustainable new community – a desirable place to live, work and relax – located to the west of Aberdeen and which will comprise 3,000 homes, employment land and associated amenities including schools, shops and healthcare facilities.

Countesswells will be a new community with its own identity, in a desirable and attractive rural location, providing a high quality and high amenity place for people of all ages to live, while enjoying the benefits of proximity to Aberdeen and other settlements

The community will play an important strategic role in accommodating forecast population growth in the City and Shire to 2023 and beyond. The new community will clearly deliver considerable social and economic benefits, including employment opportunities during construction and once complete.

The 166 hectare/410 acre site is identified for up to 3,000 homes and employment land within the Aberdeen Local Development Plan. It is located seven miles west of Aberdeen city centre, north-west of Cults and Bieldside

Following extensive consultation with Aberdeen City Council and a range of stakeholders, plans are now being brought forward to support the creation of Countesswells in line with the timescales envisaged in the local development plan.

The Countesswells Consortium delivering this community comprises Stewart Milne Homes, Heron Property and Ian Suttie, trading as IDJ Properties.

A sustainable community

As a mixed use community, Countesswells will enhance sustainability, minimise traffic generation and ensure that future residents are in close proximity to a range of employment opportunities, facilities and services, with easy access to public transport.

Development at Countesswells will be sensitively integrated with the existing site characteristics, with a strong sense of place and a distinct identity as a community in its own right.

The mix of property types within the community will ensure inclusivity, catering for first time buyers and families through to downsizers and retirees.

Countesswells enjoys an attractive and well contained landscape setting, elements of which will be enhanced through the creation of extensive green spaces within the community alongside pedestrian, cycle and equestrian access which are key elements of the masterplan.

Environment

The site is mostly under agricultural use. Countesswells will enhance its quality and biodiversity in environmental terms by incorporating extensive open space and green network provision, including formal and informal green spaces across the site, including parks and play areas.

Existing tree lines and hedgerows will form part of the character of the community while green corridors will provide strong connections with Hazlehead and Countesswells woods.

Education

Schools are an important element of the community’s neighbourhood structure and will offer high quality facilities to support learning. Schools will be designed within mixed use centres which offer complementary uses to parents and students.

Countesswells will ultimately include two primary schools and one secondary school, which will cater for pupils from Countesswells and Kingswells.

Countesswells will therefore alleviate pressure on Hazlehead and Westhill academies and have no impact on Cults academy.

Transport

The masterplan for Countesswells was created and refined through public consultation and takes account of Aberdeen City Council’s desire to ensure a sustainable community. The community is designed as a series of walkable neighbourhoods through integration of land uses and will provide every opportunity to minimise requirements for external travel and prioritise the use of sustainable travel modes, avoiding reliance of use of the private car.

Extensive traffic modelling has been carried out and dialogue on infrastructure requirements is ongoing with the City Council.

Bus services in the local area will be significantly overhauled and operate in conjunction with the Park & Ride site at Kingswells, benefiting not just future residents of Countesswells but also those existing residents who live nearby and will benefit from more frequent service provision within the local area.

Accessibility for vehicular traffic will be via three points of access to the local road network, principally to the north to the A944 but also links to the Cults area to the south. Implementation of the Western Peripheral Route to the west of the site will further enhance access by both relieving pressure on the A944 and North Deeside Road and opening up easier access to destinations to the north and south of Aberdeen. A link will be maintained to the A944, to the west of the site, to provide a public transport only link.

The final timing and nature of mitigations and enhancements to the road network will be determined as part of the planning approvals.

Planning process

Countesswells has been identified in the Aberdeen Local Development Plan as an opportunity site for the development of 3,000 homes and 10 hectares of employment land. Countesswells is a key element of the plan’s spatial strategy to address the housing requirements of the Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire Structure Plan approved in 2009.

The Countesswells development framework and phase 1 masterplan have been prepared taking regard of all relevant local and national planning guidance, and been subject to extensive public and stakeholder consultation.

The development framework sets out a coherent, long term plan for the community of 3,000 homes, associated infrastructure and community facilities, and employment land, all in accordance with the adopted Aberdeen Local Development Plan Site OP58, Countesswells

Extensive consultation with community councils, councillors, MSPs, MPs and other stakeholders was carried out in the second half of 2012 and the results informed the development framework and masterplan.

Phasing

The Aberdeen Local Development Plan envisages development of the site up to 2023, and both the community and the supporting infrastructure will be phased. 

The first phase will comprise circa 1,000 homes and supporting infrastructure, providing high quality neighbourhoods with their own identity plus supporting infrastructure, including a primary school, and will demonstrate the quality and character to be maintained in subsequent phases.

Second and third phases will each comprise circa 1,000 homes and supporting infrastructure.

The phasing strategy reflects the growth and demand projections for the region

Subject to all permissions being granted by late summer 2014, infrastructure works will begin on site in autumn 2014, with the first homes anticipated to be available in 2015.