“Don’t hold your breath” for housing

Stone Opera, the Community Engagement team of architects working for Stewart Milne Homes, presented at the Portlethen and District Community Council meeting on Tuesday the intention for their “blank canvas” at Hillside.

Representatives from Stone Opera and Keppie Design told the public their planned process for creating a master plan for Schoolhill phase two.

Despite the early start, the large development wouldn’t come under the local development plan until 2016, with no work carried out until 2017.

The two architectural companies plan to deliver an engagement process with the local community. The groups insist they have had no brief from Stewart Milne Homes as they want to hear what the public would like and feel that by doing this, the local residents can express their ideas and ambitions for their built environment.

Despite hearsay of a 1500 home application from Stewart Milne Homes for the development, Stone Opera insist it’s a completely new start with nothing planned - not even the number and style of homes included in the development.

The two companies involved in the planning (Stone Opera and Keppie Design) will initially work with schools in the area to let the local children have a say in what they would like to see. They will then invite the rest of the public along to a consultation in November.

In January a draft master plan will be presented and put forward to the council for the local development plan in March 2013.

The developers were faced with many displeased Hillside residents who couldn’t understand why there are plans to build more houses when there are no existing community facilities and questioned why the Council insist there is a need for housing when they can’t afford to put money into facilities in the area. One resident said: “Your plan sounds great, but we’ve heard it all before, and now we don’t want more houses if there’s not funding from the council for amenities.”

A representative from Keppie Design said: “The best way to deal with it is to get involved and treat it as good as it can be rather than being negative about it. The majority of new developments are seen as negative when first planned.”

Councillor Ian Mollison said: “Developers want to build and make money, it’s simple - they don’t build, they don’t make money. Why the Council plans houses without services beats me. With Hillside, the questions arise, where are the shops? There’s no commercial need. Where’s the school? There’s not enough kids. Hopefully there will be a school soon. Will this development happen? Don’t hold your breath.”