Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan 2021 Newsletter (August 2020)

Aberdeenshire Council: “We received over 1000 representations. We are still cataloguing these so we will have a definite figure in our September newsletter. Nonetheless, this figure is more than what we received for the Proposed LDP 2015. We aim to formally acknowledge all representations before the end of August 2020.”

https://sway.office.com/WxQpYtmATUot9kWg

The APRS (The Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland) Green Belt Alliance

Hi Folks, we wanted to let you know that “Keep Potterton Green” is now an official member of the APRS (The Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland) Green Belt Alliance. We will be working with APRS Greenbelt Alliance and other like minded groups to continue to advocate for stronger protection of the 11 Green Belts which circle our major cities in Scotland and the important roles they play.

If you’re interested to learn more about APRS and the many important initiatives they support please watch their video below.

https://www.facebook.com/APRScotland/videos/157993574214895

Much more to come on this shortly!

What happens next?

We have had a few questions of: “What happens next?”

Please find attached the link for the Local Development Plan Scheme 2020. In it, there are details of the Stages of Plan Production, helpfully as a timeline.

All the representations sent by consultees/residents/developers across Aberdeenshire are to be examined as part of public inquiry by the Scottish Government. The next stage of this is Dec 2020/January 2021.

https://aberdeenshire.gov.uk/media/25287/revised-development-plan-scheme-2020-final.pdf

3, 2, 1… And we’re done!

Thank you to everyone who made a submission to Aberdeenshire Council. From this point on, we shall all keep our fingers crossed for a positive outcome.

Thank you to Hilary Foxen for fighting our corner on Belhelvie Community Council. Hilary has tried to convey the wide range of concerns from residents in Potterton. She is Potterton’s one voice on our Community Council and going forward, she needs our support to ensure Potterton issues are heard.

Massive thanks to everyone who has come to us with information. Whilst you have seen our Facebook/website posts coming from Gwen and I, all this information has been collated by so many people. Keep Potterton Green started because Gwen received one of those rare zoning notices from Aberdeenshire Council. Then information came from everyone, from neighbours and from socially distanced chats in the street – local knowledge has been invaluable. We can’t thank everyone enough for volunteering their time and supporting this campaign to Keep Potterton Green.

Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland (APRS) Representation

Folks, I’m* delighted *to share the attached representation which I received a copy of earlier tonight.

The Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland (APRS) have decided on this occasion to respond to the proposed LDP in Potterton and request not only for the Greenbelt to be reinstated but to request that they seriously consider strengthening it by extending it to the north towards Belhelvie!

Since this is a public document, they are happy for me to share a copy of their submission. I know much of what they have said will resonate with each of you on the benefits of Greenbelt as an amenity worth protecting.

THANK YOU APRS ❤️ **from all of our Potterton residents **who share the same understanding on the important role and positive aspects that Greenbelt contributes towards our environment, our health and well-being!

❤️If you want to find out more about the important work APRS do you can find them on Facebook or check them out on their website below. http://aprs.scot/

“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!

Less than 2 days to go!

Historically, there’s always been mention of new houses being built. Personally, I thought that if we didn’t voice our concerns this time then the village would gradually become swallowed up by mass development. I believe in progress and I believe that a community should be kept informed and there should be a transparency within all planning processes.

For Potterton, it could begin with OP1 and OP2 and then carry on, until the pockets of land in front of the church and behind Laingseat are filled and then the sprawl would carry on behind the wooden houses out to Plodhill. It is not without justification – this has been brought forward before and these were all bid sites during previous Main Issues Reports.

“H Foxen (Potterton Resident / BCC Member) voiced her concerns about the scale of the development, it could basically treble the size of the village, and the impact traffic and schooling.” (Belhelvie Community Council minutes of meeting held on 8th June)

Your thoughts may be, “But these houses aren’t going beside my house”. Let’s never say never on that.

Perhaps you had no plans to submit a representation, or fear you’ve run out of time to get your thoughts down. Please don’t be complacent, your voice is important and Aberdeenshire Council need to hear your thoughts on the future of our village.

(Attached photos include previous plans and visions for Potterton, one very much pre-internet. Many residents seem to have been unaware of the meeting, even in 2006 😂)

3 Days to Go – Response Forms

Less than 3 days to go. Are we all getting there with our response forms?

Maybe you have already submitted a response form and then something else has come up in the meantime and you feel you would also like to comment on another issue?

If this is the case, you can submit a further representation with additional information/evidence.

(For example, I have written a further email response solely about removing false statements made in the Vision for Potterton section.)

Please reach out to us if you know of anyone who would like some help with their forms.

Barratts Brochure – Sewage Infrastructure

The Barratts brochure that was dropped in the pub and shop a few days ago, states that upgrades to existing sewage infrastructure will be required and delivered.

Through a Scottish Water Freedom of Information Act request we were able to confirm that there is no proposed project for additional capacity at Potterton. The Growth project is for Balmedie which Potterton would flow into (see Scottish Water Response and note on Potterton).

While Scottish Water did not feel they could be completely transparent about the status of the project, we can take some guidance on the note in the Balmedie Main Issues Report from SEPA, where they acknowledge that there is no firm date for the growth project. SEPA also stated all development should be restricted until “implementation” of the growth project – in Balmedie.

  • Picture 1: Extract from FOIA Scottish Water response
  • Picture 2: Extract from Balmedie Main Issues (SEPA)
  • Picture 3: Extract from Barratts Brochure