Residents put their stamp on new town plans

local residents have been putting their stamp on the latest plans for new town Chapelton of Elsick.

More than 160 people attended a two-day consultation held last week, where they were given the opportunity to help shape the design of the town by leaving comments and suggestions.

The event followed a two-week charette which was held in September and October, and 60 written comments on the masterplan were submitted by members of the public.

The £1 billion scheme would see a 4,050 home development built on land to the west of Newtonhill. The plans also include a secondary school, three primary schools and health and leisure facilities.

Caroline Southesk for the Elsick Development Company told the Leader that the latest consultation has been positive and “very useful.”

She said: “Our theory is that feedback is essential and people are usually happy to put their views forward. Every time we put our plans on display to the public there are always some extremely practical comments, a lot of practical advice.”

Mrs Southesk explained that, as a result of the feedback they have received, several alterations are being made to the masterplan, adding: “Following the exhibition there are a number of changes we are planning on making. In light of some of the comments that have been made, we are changing some roads, as it was pointed out to us that the gradient was too steep for buses. This is just one of the useful comments we received.

“We had a nice steady stream of people come along, at least 160 people turned out.”

The proposals for the new town have been included in the local development plan, which provides a blueprint for future housing in the area.

North Kincardine Councillor Ian Mollison praised the developers for their efforts to take the views of locals into account. He said: “I have seen changes taking place as the plans have been developed in response to comments that have been made. Obviously not everyone’s views can be used but I am very pleased that they are listening to the public and acting accordingly.”

Michael Morgan, vice-chairman and planning officer for Newtonhill, Muchalls and Cammachmore community council, said that he was impressed by the commitment the developers have shown to consulting members of the public during the planning process. He said: “It makes a big difference to involve people in the planning process, because then they take ownership of the idea, and I think a lot of people are excited about it, although there is some apprehension. I went along last week and I made a few suggestions. One concern I have is that they might make changes to the junction at Newtonhill, which could mean the bus stops will be re-sited. If that happens, there is a danger that Newtonhill could lose its express bus service to Aberdeen, and we don’t want that.”

Mr Morgan said that representatives from the Elsick estate have been invited to attend a Making it Real event at Newtonhill’s Bettridge Centre on June 4, from 10am-4pm, and he added that they were considering consulting members of the public on the design of the houses.

Another exhibition is planned for May or June, which will be the last public consultation before the site’s owners submit a planning application for the first phase of development later this year.

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