Covid-19: What next?

Just under two hours spent this morning attending a full meeting of Aberdeenshire Council.

Councillors agreed to review the council’s five-year plan – agreed in 2017 – in light of the disruption caused by the pandemic and to ensure that council services are fit for the new normal, whatever that may be.

Chief executive Jim Savege said an uncertain future lies ahead, and council leader Jim Gifford commented that progression through recovery is unlikely to be smooth.

The report predicts long term recovery will take two years or more. A key sentence says that “we must not raise public expectations unreasonably of a level of service that cannot be sustained in the future.”

We had two votes on the recommendations from officers, with the same result both times, 55-3.

You can read the reports and listen to a recording of the meeting at https://committees.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/committees.aspx?commid=1&meetid=19749

Views welcome on housing lets

Aberdeenshire Council is asking for feedback on its proposed updated housing allocation policy before it is finalised.

The web-based system would allow applicants to view properties and information about features and rent online and apply or ‘bid’ for a home, rather than being allocated a property by the council that may ultimately be declined.

There is more information here: https://online.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/apps/news/release.aspx?newsid=6861

Work starting on new homes

I have had an update from Barratt North Scotland about the firm’s plans for the site just south of Newtonhill.

The company said that civil works contractor JKR started this week on establishing the on-site social distancing measures, with the actual civil works due to recommence w/c 27 July.

Barratts has contracted with Grampian Housing Association for the construction of 30 affordable homes, 27 of which will be social rent, and three will be a low-cost home ownership scheme.

“Work on these homes will be one the first phases of work, with the intention to have these fast-tracked to ensure that the capital spend has been maximised before the grant funding position changes Spring 2021.

“These new homes will be located on the western edge of the development, and we are looking forward to completing the first of units in the initial phase with completions due spring/summer 2021.”

I have taken this plan for the development from the documents lodged by the applicants. This might help with an understanding of where the houses are to be built.

One new application

Only one new application registered last week within the North Kincardine ward of Aberdeenshire Council.

It can be viewed using the online planning register at https://upa.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/online-applications/.

APP/2020/1344
Site address: Jameston, Banchory Devenick, AB12 5YD.
Applicant: Mr & Mrs Murdo & Helen Nicolson.
Full planning permission for alterations and extension to a dwellinghouse and the erection of a detached garage.
Public comment expiry date is 6 August.

Councillors oppose housing bid

Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee agreed this morning that an objection should be made to possible development in Aberdeen between the A92 dual carriageway and the Causey Mouth.

The area committee’s decision will now go to Aberdeenshire Council’s infrastructure services committee on 20 August for a final determination. Should the local decision be supported, it will become the view of Aberdeenshire Council (all a bit technical I know!) and be forwarded to Aberdeen City Council.

The city council will then consider whether to include the Royal Devenick Park site for 150 homes in its proposed Local development Plan. The final decision will be made by Scottish Ministers.

What concerned the three North Kincardine councillors who spoke in the discussion today was road access. The applicant has not demonstrated any access to the A92 dual carriageway, so the concern is traffic would use the Causey Mounth, a single lane C class road with no pavements.

Councillors are also opposed to the unnecessary loss of green belt and the suburbanisation of a highly sensitive and visible landscape.

Here is a link to the recording of the meeting:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_-slluw-cI

This link takes you to the reports presented to councillors Including the map below): https://committees.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/committees.aspx?commid=8&meetid=19617

Road to close for 10 weeks

I have just been told that owing to KNC Groundworks carrying out infrastructure work – sewer/water/SSE and road widening – it will be necessary in the interests of public safety to close a country road at Kirkton of Maryculter.

The U63K will be closed from the junction with The Meadows to Rosebank from Monday 27 July for 10 weeks.

Site notices will be erected in due course indicating the temporary restriction to traffic and the alternative route via U63K – C5K – Stranog junction with U62K – U62K – B979 – U63K vice versa.

Emergency and pedestrian access is to be maintained. Vehicular access to affected properties is to be maintained whenever possible.

Covid-19: Larder on the move

The Coronavirus Community Care group which covers Portlethen and its surroundings is moving from the Jubilee Hall on 24 July.

But not far … into the Porty Cabin (the former Portlethen library) just next door to the Jubilee Hall.

A group spokesperson said: “The council have been very generous and offered the Porty Cabin for free.

“A huge thanks to Jubilee Hall for allowing us to use their premises to reach out and help.

“While we are moving the hall will be closed on Thursday 23 July. There will also be new opening hours going forward – Monday, Wednesday and Fridays 2-5pm and Saturdays 10am-1pm.”

The centre houses a larder which is open to everyone in the community and has multiple things available including school uniforms, food, toiletries and books.

The more people who use it, the more word gets around. If you use it and spread the word those who need to use it will come along.

Volunteers try and persuade everyone who drops something of to take something away.

There is no requirement to pay for items and voluntary contributions are welcome.

The group has a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/220991955621863/

UPDATE:  The hall will be closed this Saturday.

Covid-19: Latest local updates

Today’s Kincardine and Mearns Community Planning E-Bulletin (Edition #13) focuses on what is happening locally related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It includes news on public toilet re-openings, phase 3 of lockdown, and support available within our communities.

You can take a cycle tour round Aberdeenshire from your own home. Spot the local landmarks. Who knows, it might inspire you to get a bike and follow in their path!

Click here: https://mailchi.mp/1b38fd70645f/e-bulletin-4218206

Covid-19 award nominations

Aberdeenshire Voluntary Action wants to recognise the fantastic volunteering effort that has been going on. Anyone can nominate someone who may have helped them during the pandemic.

Email communityspirit@avashire.org.uk to nominate an individual or group telling us why you think they deserve the recognition from the Community Spirit Awards, along with details of how they can be contacted.

The closing date for nominations is Friday 17 July