The council’s Kincardine and Mearns area committee met today (virtually). Here are some key points.
BARRIERS A petition calling for changes to social distancing measures in Stonehaven, particularly in Allardice Street. Councillors instructed officers to bring a full report to the committee about the provision of cones and barriers to give pedestrians more space.
PARK BRIDGE A petition called on the council to re-open the Deeside bridge to vehicles weighing less than 3 tonnes, and to provide technical details on the state of the listed structure. It was agreed the points would be included in a report this autumn on the future of the bridge. Meanwhile councillors approved an order to ban vehicles from the cast iron, steel and wood bridge.
HOUSING Plans to introduce a choice-based letting policy for council housing were welcomed. It is an internet-based system where applicants can view property features including rents and additional costs. Applicants can then “bid” for a property. Should there be several bidders, then the allocation reverts to a points system. The new policy goes before the shire-wide communities committee in November.
HOMES The local authority’s strategic housing investment plan for the next five years came before us. There are projects for social rent homes in North Kincardine at Newtonhill (30 at Park Place), Portlethen (11 at the former chicken sheds; 30 at Leathan Fields, 20 at Coull Cars). Chapelton (20), Blairs (22). Mid market rent homes also feature in Portlethen (14 at Leathan Fields), Chapelton (20), and Blairs (18). There are also a low cost shared equity homes in the plan at Kirkton of Maryculter (1) and low cost home ownership homes (shared equity) at Chapelton (20).
GRANTS Just over £59,000 remains in the area committee’s budget for grants to local groups, to be spent in this financial year. Auchenblae Parks Committee was awarded £8000 towards the cost of a replacement steel building on the community’s football pitch. Johnshaven Environmental Group were awarded £900 for a storage container.
PARKING A seven week consultation will now take part on the provision of disabled parking bays. Two are listed in this ward, at Puffin Court, Newtonhill, and Mosside Drive, Portlethen.
BIODIVERSITY There was a split in the committee over whether Landscape Services should pursue potential sites for increasing biodiversity. By six votes to five we agreed that discussions should take place with community groups on where, if at all, to replace cut grass with wildflowers, bushes and trees.
Landscape Services officer Iain Welsh said the proposals were not set in stone and would not be forced on communities. The council would undertake the work where suitable and where there is buy-in. He warned that there will have to be changes over the coming years as the council does not have the resources to continue as in past years.
The council would maintain the areas though any involvement by the community would be welcomed.
A report will come back to the committee next autumn.
TRANSPORT Councillors were given the opportunity to comment on the regional transport strategy looking forward to 2040. I voiced my support for reopening railway stations including Newtonhill to take advantage of the new Montrose-Inverurie commuter service.
AND FINALLY All the reports before councillors are available on the council website, including (in due course) a recording of the meeting: https://committees.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/committees.aspx?commid=8&meetid=19619