Pre Determination Hearing for Drumoak development postponed for further detail on local bridge

A pre-determination hearing being held to discuss a major planning application on lower Deeside has been postponed for a second time.

Plans for a proposed new sustainable community including 1,500 houses, a village centre, community facilities and supporting infrastructure at Park, Drumoak were due to be discussed on June 1.

Pre-determination hearings are an information gathering exercise for those involved and an opportunity for members of the public to fully understand proposals.

It is also a forum to allow Councillors to hear first-hand information on the plans and any associated issues, giving them a chance to question any aspect of the detail.

A previous pre-determination hearing planned for March 2 was cancelled at the request of the developer, CHAP Group, to allow time for all relevant information to be submitted.

It had been reorganised for June 1, but the latest delay relates to Park Bridge, which links north and south Deeside and would be an access point for the development.

There are concerns about the suitability and capacity of the wider road network and the bridge in the context of serving the proposals.

The bridge is currently subject to weight restrictions and was closed for a short period earlier this year due to flood related damage. 

A survey of the bridge is scheduled for June and the results of this will have a bearing on the consideration of the application, in particular the options available to the applicant in terms of addressing this aspect of their proposals.

A number of representations made to the Council on the application refer to the bridge and the implications of additional traffic generated by this development using this particular route.

Kincardine and Mearns Area Manager, Willie Munro, said: "We appreciate this is the second postponement of the pre-determination hearing and that this may cause some inconvenience to those who have an interest in the application and had intended to address or simply attend the pre-determination hearing.

"Given the importance of the bridge and the high level of interest shown in this aspect of the application it is considered by the Council, for the benefit of all parties and Councillors, that information on Park Bridge and the implications of this structure on the determination of the application is made available in advance of the hearing and the extra time given will allow this to happen.

"It is hoped this will allow for a more informed hearing and provide a greater degree of certainty for councillors, the local community and the applicants on the impact of the development on the local road network."

A revised date of October 6 is now being proposed for the hearing, with the planning application expected to be determined by Aberdeenshire Council at its meeting on November 24.