“Potterton Rant”

I received this “Potterton Rant” from a resident who had trawled through over a YEARS worth of Council minutes, Facebook posts, searched the BCC website and the Belhelvie Banter and found nothing to point the residents of Potterton to these changes in the LDP. She did find Barratts lobbying the council for more Greenbelt land and more houses in Potterton. See her notes attached – page 4 Sept 2019. I agree with her that we deserve better.

Rant on Potterton LDP – Lack of Public Consultation

Aberdeenshire Council

Aberdeenshire Council says it is Committed to Engagement as a key part of the Plan-making process….so that ‘the Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan reflects the land use changes that people would wish to see in their communities.’ They claim to use national standards for community engagement using a best practice approach to achieving community participation.

Did they hold a public meeting or a drop-in session in Potterton to tell us they were considering major changes and ask for our feedback? NO!

They held a public meeting in Balmedie in Feb 2019, but nothing in Potterton.

They took input from Belhelvie Community Council and from the Developers in their Bid documents – and assumed these covered the wishes of the people of Potterton.

Did they even mention in the Main Issues Report or the Proposed Development Plan that they had decided to remove land in Potterton from its Green Belt status? NO!

That is not good enough. We deserve better!

We need to make our views known NOW and we need to point out the lack of public consultation during the LDP process.

What about the Aberdeenshire Councillors?

Did they have regard to the Reporter from the 2017 LDP process, who said that development extending Potterton would be inappropriate as it is not within the Strategic Growth Area and is encompassed by greenbelt.

Did they even go by the advice of their own planning officers?

NO and NO!

The Formartine Area Committee were lobbied by Barratts at their Special Meeting on the proposed LDP in Sept 2019, and voted to INCREASE the amount of land reallocated out of the Green Belt to allow Barratts to build MORE houses.

Did they minute their discussions on this to explain how they reached this decision, in the interests of public accountability? NO!

The Developer

So what about the proposed Developer of the fields between Denview and Milton of Potterton.

Did he consult the residents?

Did he hold a public meeting to explain his proposals and gather feedback?Did he display his plans locally e.g. in the Shop or the Community Centre and ask for input? NO, NO and NO!

He did chat to half a dozen people in the pub one night. They told him they could not possibly speak for the village on such an issue and recommended that he should contact the BCC to ask for a public consultation event.

Did anything come of this? NO!Belhelvie Community CouncilThe Community Council represents the residents of the Parish of Belhelvie, which includes the communities of Balmedie, Belhelvie, Potterton, Blackdog and Whitecairns.*Belhelvie Community Council has three main functions:

  1. To represent the views of the community to Aberdeenshire Council and other public bodies.
  2. To promote the well-being of the community. This can include organising or assisting with events, supporting local activity groups and promoting environmental improvements.
  3. To hold meetings and provide a point of contact for local residents to voice their opinions on any matter affecting their lives, their welfare, their environment, its development and amenity.

So, did BCC consult with the people of Potterton about the Council’s plans for the village?

Did they hold a survey, like they have done in the past re bus services etc?

Did they hold a public meeting to warn the village that it was facing MAJOR changes and to gauge feeling?

Did they ask Potterton residents if we wanted to stay within the protection of the Green Belt around Aberdeen?

Did they mention any of this in the Belhelvie Banter?

NO, NO, NO, NO, and NO.

Did BCC provide input to Aberdeenshire Council as part of the Main Issues Report / Local Development Plan process? YES THEY DID.

Did they minute their discussions and publish them on their website? NO!Did they publish their input so we could see it? NO!

Did they post on their Facebook page that there were SERIOUSLY CONTENTIOUS PLANNING OFFICER RECOMMENDATIONS RELATING TO POTTERTON (like they did for Balmedie in a post on 27 Oct 2018) – NO!

So…on what basis did BCC presume to represent us in this matter?

Maybe BCC tends to be dominated by issues relating to Balmedie as it’s so much bigger. But they are supposed to be representing us too!

BCC’s current planning officer seems to be of the opinion that it is Potterton’s turn now for development, like all the other settlements in BCC’s area, and that it is inevitable that the Council wants development here.

But there is a HUGE difference between Potterton and the other places – as well as all the other arguments about inadequate infrastructure etc – POTTERTON WAS (AND SHOULD STILL BE) PROTECTED BY ITS GREEN BELT DESIGNATION. Balmedie, Blackdog, etc. are NOT in the green belt. The BCC have formulated a response on these developments to the Aberdeenshire Council. You should formulate your response too!

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