It’s that time of year when the main thing on most people’s minds seems to be planning for Christmas, but that doesn’t mean there is nothing happening in the world of town planning at the same time. For some planning highlights amongst the Christmas lights from the past month, read on below…
On Holyrood and Local Government
Smart Cities – the Scottish Cities Alliance (a collaboration of Scotland’s seven cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee, Stirling, Perth and Inverness, working with the Scottish Government) this month received £15 million in European funding for its Smart Cities programme, with this to be invested in technology to make our cities more sustainable, safer and, ultimately, smarter. Are we moving towards an urban environment in which everything from traffic lights to recycling collection is tailored to our actual use? We look forward to seeing what the future holds.
Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) – a flagship project for the North East since Grampian Regional Council first started exploring potential options for the route in the early 1990s, the AWPR finally opened to traffic this month (or at least most of it did). This has generally been well received by people living and working in the North East looking for reductions in journey times and congestion, but it also has wider implications – economic, environmental, and social. For more on which, check out our blog on what the AWPR means for Aberdeen and the North East here, there being more to getting to where you’re going than just knowing there’s a road.
On planning applications
Trump – as noted in our July Spotlights, the Trump Organisation earlier this year applied for planning permission for the second phase of its development at the Menie Estate, including 500 residential units, 50 hotel cottages, a sports centre, retail, equestrian and commercial spaces, alongside other resort related leisure facilities. As part of the determination process, the Council this month held a Pre-Determination Hearing, the Report for which confirms that there are currently a number of outstanding holding objections from consultees pending further information being submitted, and that the proposed development is considered to be a significant departure to the designation of the application site in the Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan. Following the Hearing a further report seeking preliminary views on the proposal will be prepared for a future meeting of the Formartine Area Committee, after which the application will be reported to Full Council for determination. Watch this space for how that goes…
Dundee Waterfront – plans were announced this week for what would be Scotland’s tallest building to be built in Dundee, with the proposed 39 storey skyscraper to contain a five-star hotel, conference centre and luxury flats. A formal planning application for the proposals has however yet to submitted and initial comments from the Leader of Dundee City Council have been less than encouraging. At this early stage in the project though, and with all eyes currently on the Dundee Waterfront redevelopment, this is definitely one to watch!
Greyhope Bay – back in March, we were excited to be at the opening of The Bridge to Greyhope Bay pop-up exhibition in Aberdeen, now it’s been announced that Torry Battery is to provide a new home for the project. The first phase of development will include a viewing platform, exhibition space, a café and toilets, all to allow people to connect with the natural environment, as well as exploring the local historic monument that Torry Battery is. Further information on the project is available here, with the new facility expected to open in June 2019.
On the courts
What's in a title... - in our February Spotlights we commented on the case of Rubislaw Quarry Aberdeen Limited v Hill of Rubislaw (Q7) Limited and Others, the decision on which was last month referred to in deliberations over a similar situation in the case of Danny Lai Chung Chan and Katherine Mei Kwan Hau v Christina Sanderson-Tolsma and Others. In this case, the development proposed was the construction of single further dwelling house in the applicants’ garden ground, contrary to title condition prohibiting them from doing so. As at Rubislaw Quarry, the restriction on development here was considered to have the purpose of preserving amenity in the area but, in this case other factors meant that the Tribunal ultimately decided to vary the condition to enable the specific development to proceed, albeit not to grant an outright discharge of the condition overall. As we said before, these cases highlight that the planning system does not exist in isolation, and it’s important to consider the implications that any title conditions may have on development proposals as well. The full decision is available here.
With this Spotlights, we mark a full year of issuing monthly blogs and bulletins - looking back, it’s amazing how much as happened over the past 12 months, both for us as a business and in planning as a whole. So, we would like to sincerely thank all our readers and everyone we have worked with over this time. We wish you a very merry Christmas and all the very best for the New Year!! And we hope you like our festive logo….
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Thanks for reading!