October 9, 2008

GBP700m Plan for New Estate in Aberdeen Country Park Blueprint for 6000 Jobs and 3000 Homes


PROPOSALS have been unveiled for the creation of a new GBP700m community on the edge of Aberdeen.

The development, on the Banchory & Leggart estate just off the A90 at the southern gateway to the city, would be within a new country park and include 3000 homes and a business park hat could create 6000 jobs.

The proposal has been submitted for inclusion in the Aberdeen City and Shire Structure Plan - the blueprint for development in the region between now and 2030 - which predicts 72,000 new homes will have to be built in the area in the next 25 years.

The 3000 at Banchory Leggart represents around half of those expected to be built between Aberdeen and Stonehaven.

Thousands of these homes will have to be built on greenfield sites and Rupert Lumsden, who owns the estate, is expecting opposition to the project on land that his family has owned for 135 years.

He said: "It has always been my home and I am committed to see the land used more effectively to support growth of the region while preserving and protecting it for future generations to enjoy.

"We want to deliver a sensitive, sustainable, highlyattractive mixed-use development designed to promote economic growth of the region. The concept is for a balanced community with up to 3000 homes, which is linked to the services needed to offer an attractive place to work and live.

"We are therefore incorporating community, infrastructure, employment, transport and local facilities right from the outset."

The planned infrastructure includes a GBP30m secondary school and the 360 hectares of country park in which the development will be sited would comprise woodland and farmland with walkways, picnic areas and viewpoints over the Aberdeen vista .

"We need to provide quality business land in locations which work for business, that means it must be accessible, landscaped and close to the city, " said Mr Lumsden.

"However this must be done sensitively. As a local resident who is committed to the area and has appreciated the beauty of our environment all my life, I want to see developments which allow our region to grow and prosper but at the same time protect the natural landscape. That is why over half of this development will be a regional country park.

"The key to this development, apart from the fact it is employment-led, is that it will not encroach on the major parts of the greenbelt, particularly along the A90 and the River Dee.

"In fact, it will open up the countryside for all to enjoy. At the moment the land is farmland with relatively little formal access for the public. As a country park it will be easily accessible from the city and provide scenic walks with links to existing pathways."

If the land is zoned for development in the approved structure plan no work is likely to start until after the completion of the Aberdeen bypass in around 2013.

The prediction that the city edge project could create 6000 permanent new jobs, not counting the construction posts, is made in an independent economic impact study by DTZ and Tribal, commissioned by Banchory & Leggart Estates, which also highlights the demand for a new high-quality business park in, or close to, the city.

The Robert Gordon University has already agreed to look at locating premises for spin-out research and development companies in the business park, and plans for building a pedestrian and cycle bridge over the River Dee o link the Garthdee campus and the estate are under discussion.

Originally published by Newsquest Media Group.

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