Reaction to Aberdeenshire Council Meeting

Folks, Cllr Andrew Hassan has provided the link and relevant timing to yesterdays full council meeting, where Elected Members (Cllrs) were asked to – Agree that in the absence of new and/or significant issues being identified through the Proposed LDP Public Consultation, no significant modifications to the Plan are required.

All 4 of our Elected Cllrs spoke regarding the issue of Potterton.

“Dear Keep Potterton Green members,
Yesterday’s Meeting of Full Council is now available to watch back on the Council website here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVpVuiEZjJ0&feature=youtu.be

The Local Development Plan item begins at 2:10:31″

Cllr Johnston’s thoughts on what was missed.

https://cllrpauljohnston.wordpress.com/2021/01/15/potterton-what-was-missed/?fbclid=IwAR0d9FFaSFa_iZIelhUu1No4N9J52u5RZxBi8uzE6hK1FyyM4rL5ZJ7nI8s

Full Council Meeting: LDP Agenda Item

Cllr Andrew Hassan has been kind enough to provide a link to the meeting on Thursday, where the Head of Planning will address the item of the Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan (agenda item 8).

The meeting on Thursday can be viewed online by the link at “Item 0” here: https://committees.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/committees.aspx…

This is an all-day meeting with multiple agenda items and the exact timing of the LDP being discussed is difficult to predict.

The meeting is public therefore will be recorded and available for viewing after its conclusion from the Council website.

We will share the relevant parts of the meeting afterwards, so everyone is able to hear the points made by the Head of Planning and our Elected Members.

LDP Newsletter (Dec 2020)

Happy New Year!

Please find the link below for the Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan 2021 Newsletter for December 2020. This shows the updated timescales as: “The Policy Team are now working to submit the Proposed LDP to Scottish Ministers for Examination, at the very latest, by the end of February 2021.”

https://sway.office.com/5fC4wTGzxdc2VpCC?ref=Link&loc=play&fbclid=IwAR0NwmoienffIXGVQ_Xr0u1s5qU0Ho_8T66iC2dyXnJgtR8MMoc0XUEDDWY

Squirrel Sightings

The Green Belt encompassing not just our community, but around the wider city of Aberdeen has many important roles. One critical role is making space for nature through permeability of the surrounding landscape for the movement of wildlife, creating corridors of connecting habitat.

We are also lucky to have areas of natural woodland where biodiversity has been protected, which is important in helping wildlife thrive!

We thought it would be wonderful to share some pictures we’ve been sent of Red Squirrels; which are now being seen in many gardens around Potterton. It’s really encouraging to see them thriving around the village! They are being seen in large numbers, in various shades of red and different sizes – they are beautiful and I’m told that they are partial to a hazelnut

You can record sightings, to help keep track of red squirrel numbers at:

Photo credit: Thank you to Mike for these photos! Please keep sharing! They are mesmerising to watch – full of character.



https://scottishsquirrels.org.uk/squirrel-sightings/

Statutory Notices

Sharing a copy of the statutory notice placed in the Press and Journal upon publication of the Main Issues Report in January 2019.

The notice was placed on the 14th January 2019.

The public drop in event we noted in our previous post held in “Balmedie” is referenced under “settlement/venue”, which the council recently confirmed was inclusive of Potterton.

We are not aware of any other notices which have been publicized or promoted with regards to Major Development Proposals in Potterton during the Main Issues Report consultation stages. It is conclusive that no engagement was sought on the inclusion of these sites, during the Main Issues Reporting Stages to reflect the views of the community at this critical point. Allowing the sites to move forward and into the Proposed Local Development Plan as the “settled view of the council” with only a view of the Developer, the Planning Officers and the Belhelvie Community Councils personal view.

14th January 2019 – Public Notice

ScotGov Consultation: Bus Travel

The Scottish Government have a consultation open on free bus travel for people under the age of 19. (It’s only open till Monday 7th.)

It’s quite a quick survey to gather your views, but this seems a beneficial one for residents to comment on, as it could have a really positive impact on young people living here in Potterton and surrounding rural areas.

We have a timetabled rural bus service here, and this consultation could help young people access free transport to study at college/university and apprenticeships/places of work.

(My personal opinion is that it’s also an expensive timetabled rural bus service, for young people who are still in education or trying to access opportunities for work/study.)

Regardless of your stage in life, you may have relied on the bus service at some point to get from A to B. Giving young people in our area this access to free transport could help support them into opportunities in training and employment. A massive environmental advantage is that this could help reduce car use and further emissions.

https://consult.gov.scot/transport-scotland/consultation-free-bus-travel-for-people-under19/?fbclid=IwAR1jUtIpWhCrbYAGOj7iN5m99MN-QVbKzStwFEHzUegJPxlNVAJ5vrosn6k

Main Issues Report Representation

This is a bit wordy (apologies!) but we wanted to share some key information regarding critical Community Engagement that should’ve taken place between Jan-Mar 2019, including information received from Aberdeenshire Council on the matter.

As a community, Potterton should’ve been engaged to participate in public consultation of the proposed bid sites (OP1 and OP2) between Jan-Mar 2019 (pre-covid) at the Main Issues Stage. This is a critical point as it allows the public the opportunity to persuade the plan (by making representations) before it goes in front of the council to vote on; when it then becomes the Proposed Local Development Plan as the “settled view of the council”.

This is what the Scottish Government wants to happen. It is an essential part of the planning process, it is not a luxury! They want communities to be involved in Local Development Plans at an early stage.

The purpose of the Main Issues Stage of consultation is to provide the council a “balanced view” of representations (views) before they vote to bring proposals forward i.e. including the view of the community. This ensures what is presented to the council is not simply a view of the planning officers, or that of developers. The Main Issues Stage is where Potterton has participated in past Development Plans. Each time sites have not been allowed past this stage due to reasons like lack of public infrastructure and Potterton not being within a Strategic Growth Area, but instead a Local Growth Area with only local housing needs being allowed.

However, there were no public meetings in our village for sites OP1 & OP2, or any information publicised locally, that would encourage us to take part in this critical point of consultation as the Scottish Government wants to happen. Neither the Potterton Community Group or Hilary Foxen (Potterton resident & Belhelvie Community Council Member) were informed about these sites and the Local Development Plan or the Main Issues Stage; there were no articles in the Belhelvie Banter or any notices on the Potterton notice boards. We asked the council what engagement activities took place with regards to Potterton during the Main Issues Stages and for these particular sites.

Aberdeenshire Council have confirmed the following: –“At a local level, we generally seek to engage through Community Councils as representing the views of their community. Belhelvie Community Council has been engaged in the Plan-making process from the outset including participating in a Place Standard exercise during the pre-Main Issues Report phase to identify key issues within settlements locally. This meeting took place on 2 October 2017. On 22 May 2018, representatives of the Community Council received early sight of the development bids received during a seminar undertaken with Councillor’s at which initial feedback was provided to assist Officers in the process of identifying preferred options outlined in the Main Issues Report. Upon publication of the Main Issues Report, we notified the Community Council as a statutory consultee and offered to provide assistance in the preparation of consultation responses.We held a number of drop-in events across Aberdeenshire, the nearest of which to Potterton was in Balmedie on 15 February 2019 and we enlisted the assistance of Community Councils to promote these events. We again notified Community Councils upon publication of the Proposed Local Development 2020 and indeed we provided advance notice to Community Councils of our intention to publish the Proposed LDP.”

The meeting held in Balmedie on 15th February 2019, has not been described in any communication with regard to Potterton and the Proposed Sites. This event was promoted for Balmedie sites.

As a result of the community not knowing about the inclusion of these sites, there were no comments/representations made by anyone in the community before the sites were voted upon by The Formartine Area Committee and Aberdeenshire’s full council.

However, somehow Belhelvie Community Council (BCC) submitted their representation at the Main Issues Report Stage in 2019 of the Local Development Plan. Included in this was “The settlement statement provides a vision for Potterton which includes the objective of protecting the amenity of the village. The scale of the proposed allocations to be included in the plan is considered to be excessive and at odds with the vision for the settlement.”The settlement issues relating to the lack of crucial infrastructure were not raised, because there had been no attempts to provide community engagement. There is no mention of poor infrastructure such as roads, education, water, waste water by Belhelvie Community Council.

A further concern is that Belhelvie Community Council wished for the community (that is Potterton) to come to terms with future growth, as an unavoidable expectation! This is an insightful statement and shows that Aberdeenshire Council Officers, and members of the BCC have discussed and reached conclusions about Potterton without the views of the residents and business owners being taken into account.

We have attached a copy of the Belhelvie Community Council Representation, which was submitted as part of the Main Issues Stage Public Consultation period in 2019.