The decisions taken regarding the Structure Plan are coming home to roost. Rather than this being some lines on a map and some nice sounding aspirations and some big numbers, we are now seeing what they mean for real. I'm worried that the late addition of 600 houses to the Blockdog-Ellon Strategic Growth Area may be just too much to swallow.
See previous post for details of Structure Plan.
Lots of what I say is about housing numbers. We haven't forgotten employment land and there was a great deal of agreement that we need to encourage more local employment and ensure that allocated employment land was serviced so it could readily be occupied. But it was where housing should go that generated the hardest problems.
See previous post for details of Development bids
So how do the numbers pan out? The area divides into three portions - and we have the first cut on how the big numbers may be divided up across Aberdeenshire.
The Structure Plan fixes the numbers in the SGA area ... so the only route to change this number is to object to the Structure Plan (by 24th April 2009). The other numbers can flex between here and other areas of Aberdeenshire - or an objection to the Structure Plan could change these too! The Local Plan must "conform" to the Structure Plan i.e. if the numbers are in the final approved version of the Structure Plan, then we are talking "where" not "whether"
There was a bit of debate about which settlements were inside the Strategic Growth corridor ... OK yes Balmedie, Ellon ... but Whitecairns? Kingseat? Newburgh? Where would you draw the boundary?
Strategic Growth Area (SGA): 2300 houses
Includes: Balmedie, Potterton, Blackdog, Belhelvie, Foveran, Tipperty, Cultercullen, Ellon
plus also may include Newburgh, Whitecairns, Kingseat, Collieston (else these are Aberdeen Housing Market Area)
Aberdeen Market Housing Area (AHMA): 2350 houses
Includes: Oldmeldrum, Pitmedden/Millden, Tarves, Methlick, Udny Green, Udny Station, Ythanbank
Rural Housing Market Area (RHMA): 680-700 houses
Includes: Turriff, Cuminestown, Daviot, Fisherford, Fyvie, Rothienorman, Aucherless, Woodhead, St.Katherines
So how do we divide up these allocations between settlements?
The SGA development will require whole new Academy and there was general agreement that there should be a new Academy south of Ellon to serve the settlements. Exactly where would you like to see this?
A case was made for going easy on Oldmeldrum .... but that would mean more allocation elsewhere. Can we do this and if so where could this be?
Do we need to ask other parts of Aberdeenshire to take more of the AHMA allocations as we are taking a big lump of the SGA allocation?
Turriff's primary school is full and it would need to take most of the RHMA allocation in order to fund a second - so it's a bit all or nothing. Will that work or should we be growing another place instead or should be just spread the housing through all the settlements?
I'll post more of my thoughts soon, but I'd like to hear your comments.