Aberdeen City PlanningStrategic Development Plan

WAEPAL present case against drive-thru development on A944 to Aberdeen City Council

On the 28th November there was a public hearing into the application for the 3 eateries / drive-throughs adjacent to the vets on the A944. WAEPAL were represented and addressed the Aberdeen City Council Planning Committee.

There were also representations made against the development by other members of the public, and Kingswells Community Council who also objected to the plans.

Our understanding is that the council is awaiting further information on the application, in particular a Transport Assessment, and it might be some time yet before this application is determined.

The application is number 181336 and can be accessed here: https://publicaccess.aberdeencity.gov.uk/online-applications/

WAEPAL Speech from Planning Hearing

“Good Morning Councillors,

I’m Diane Reid and I am representing West Aberdeen Environmental Protection Association Limited – WAEPAL.

WAEPAL was set up to raise awareness of local planning applications, to ensure that people in the area affected by proposed developments, are more likely to contribute their views within the process that shapes our communities.

WAEPAL has reviewed the application and has formed the view that the application presented, fails to accord with multiple planning policies within the Aberdeen City LDP and as such should be refused.

The site is currently allocated in the adopted 2012 LDP as OP 29 for employment, and not for eating establishments.

The LDP and SDP both promote the City Centre first principle.   Policy NC1 states that the city Centre is the preferred location for development generating a significant footfall.

Furthermore, NC5 states that all significant footfall generating developments which are not being sited in the city Centre, or in a current retail Centre, will be refused unless they strictly meet 5 specific requirements.

The applicant has submitted a ‘Sequential Assessment Statement’.  However, the applicant has discounted other sites which could accommodate a disaggregated development.  There is a lack of flexibility shown in this application and therefore does not meet requirement 1 of NC5.

There is no proven deficiency of facilities relating to food and drink in the area. There are 20 take away establishments with 19 of these  eateries available for sitting in, in the neighbouring communities.  These outlets sit within established communities and are easily accessible on foot, negating the need to drive or use unsustainable means.

Many of these are local independent businesses, which survive on local trade.  This does not meet requirement 2 and 3 of NC5.

This site is on a busy dual carriageway, which will inevitably be busier due to the imminent opening of the AWPR and its junction at South Kingswells.

There are no frequent or convenient public transport stops in close proximity to the development, and it is some considerable walking distance from both Westhill and Kingswells.

Given that this development has been self-promoted as a ‘drive thru’, it will be almost entirely reliant on the use of private cars – significantly increasing traffic flow to the area and adding to an already heavily congested area.  This does not meet requirement 4 or 5 of NC5.

This application meets none of the five requirements of this Council’s own local development planning policy.

The strategic plan makes it clear that developments should not be associated with junctions on the AWPR and the route is NOT to be used a ribbon development corridor.  The justification given in the planning statement is at odds with these intentions.

The AWPR Interim STAG report states (appendix C) that, in the year of the scheme opening, the A944 will see no change in traffic flow, however, as has been discussed in other applications for the area, the traffic flow data this is based on, is from 2007, and is no longer an accurate reflection of traffic flow in the area.  This traffic flow has increased greatly in recent years and has been highlighted as a “bottleneck” in your own planning documents.

The 2017 Aberdeen City and Aberdeen Cumulative Transport Appraisal highlights the A944 as a road that will not benefit from the opening of the AWPR, unlike other arterial routes.

This applicant’s transport statement predicts 5,000 car trips on any given weekend day and 1,700 on a weekday.  The A944 is already at capacity, and the AWPR junction is already identified as a pinch point.  This is simply unacceptable.

The application refers to people working at, and visiting the new Aberdeen Football stadium visiting the premises as they are ‘within easy walking distance of the site’.  The shared use core path in its’ current state is not suitable for pedestrians to and from this development.

The applicant references the approved AFC stadium at Kingsford four times in support of the application.  However, the approval of the stadium should not be a green light for further development in the area.

The stadium application was said to be a unique development which would not establish a precedent, so it is very disappointing that already we are discussing an application using the stadium as justification for yet another unsustainable development, eroding the greenspace network and in contradiction of the City Council’s own policies.

You will be aware from the planners’ report that there have been 100s of representations made by the public to this application.

However, a closer look at these reveals 92% of the objections come from those in the communities of Kingswells and Westhill, the communities most affected, with only 22% of the supporting statements coming from local people. Indeed, representations of support were received from over 50 different towns from as far afield as County Down and Dunfermline.

We urge you to listen to the people of the communities who will be most affected by these plans, to stick to your own policies, and to vote to reject this application.

Thank you for allowing me to speak today on behalf of WAEPAL.”

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