Countesswells has been identified by the Aberdeen Local Development Plan as an opportunity site for the development of 3,000 homes and 10 hectares of employment land. It is a key element of the Plan’s spatial strategy to address the housing requirements of the Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire Structure Plan approved in August 2009.
The Aberdeen City & Shire Structure Plan was approved by Scottish Ministers in August 2009. The main aims of the Plan are to provide a strong framework for investment decisions which help to grow and diversify the regional economy, supported by promoting the need to use resources more efficiently and effectively; and to take on the urgent challenges of sustainable development and climate change.
To support these main aims, among other things, the Plan wishes to ensure that the area has enough people, homes and jobs to support the level of services and facilities needed to maintain and improve the quality of life. It seeks to grow the population of the City and Shire and allocates 36,000 houses to Aberdeen City for the period up to 2030, with 21,000 of them proposed for Greenfield sites. It emphasises the importance of creating sustainable mixed communities to ensure that new homes are designed to a high standard and that they respect and improve the existing qualities of the area.
Adopted in February 2012, the Aberdeen Local Development Plan has been prepared in conformity with the approved Structure Plan. Throughout its preparation process, it has been the subject of extensive public consultation. An examination into the Plan was held by Scottish Government Reporters through much of 2011.
The adopted Plan identifies sites to accommodate the approved Structure Plan aspirations. The land at Countesswells is identified as opportunity site OP58. Covering an area of approximately 165 hectares, it is to accommodate 3,000 homes and 10 hectares of employment land.
The site is allocated for development in the period to 2023 over two phases.
The Masterplan process has been committed to involving local people and stakeholders at all stages in the design and development process at Countesswells. The Development Framework and masterplan have benefited greatly from meaningful consultation and involvement with the local community and stakeholders. Consultation has been carried out following the best practice guidelines as set out in Planning Advice Note 81, Community Engagement, Circular 3/2010 Community Engagement and Aberdeen City Council’s Guidelines for Community Engagement.
The community consultation and engagement approach adopted for Countesswells has been specifically designed to ensure awareness of the Countesswells Development Framework and Phase 1 Masterplan aspirations, creating ‘knowledgeable communities’ which can then contribute purposefully at all stages of the development process.
It also ensures that events are well publicised and easy to get to. Once there, engaging and inspiring consultation materials which present information clearly and in an accessible format are available. Members of the design team are also on hand to answer questions and engage in dialogue. These are opportunities to comment and become involved, to keep people informed of progress and to give confidence and assurance that comments are heard and distilled to the wider teams for consideration.
Full details of the consultation can be found on page 11 of the Development Framework.