New neighbourhood centre at Countesswells gets the green light

Plans to create a neighbourhood centre as part of the next phase of the new community at Countesswells, to the west of Aberdeen, will help deliver key aspects of the city’s local plan, councillors have confirmed.

Masterplans for the three phases of the 3,000-home community are key to the lay-out and design of its streets, houses, green spaces, local services, facilities and business premises. These underpin the principle of creating distinct neighbourhoods within the community which will evolve and flourish.

Aberdeen City Council’s planning committee has now given its support to the Phase 1b Masterplan for Countesswells which, following on from the previous award of planning permission in principle for the overall development, provides details of how the overall community is set to become an exceptional place in which to live and work.

Within this next phase of development, which will see the number of new homes rise to around 600 adjacent to the community’s first primary school, the neighbourhood centre will deliver vital local amenities such as retail space for shops, community facilities, and small scale office space, set around a public open square.

In line with the Countesswells vision of creating one of the greenest and most attractive places to live in the north-east, there are proposals to create allotments within a few moments’ walk to the north of the square.

These elements will tie-in to the road and pedestrian infrastructure on the site, which is also being phased in as part of an effort to minimise disruption to existing residents and road users, while providing upgrades to the existing local network. In conjunction with further development of the UK’s fastest fibre optic communications network, which has been installed as part of the original phase of development at Countesswells, providing small businesses and local residents with access to high speed broadband and internet connectivity.

“Creating a new community is only possible when the place has all the elements people need to truly make it theirs, and that doesn’t just mean a home,” says Allan McGregor, Countesswells project director.

“Throughout the north-east of Scotland, villages and towns, which have not only grown but prospered as places with their own identity, have been built around common spaces, from the iconic, historic archway at Fettercairn, to the market squares at Stonehaven and Ellon.

“The neighbourhood centre in Phase 1b is the back bone of the new settlement at Countesswells – its shops, indoor facilities and outdoor meeting spaces are there to be used for the benefit of the people who call the community home, and are proud to do so.

“Across the community, a dynamic mix of uses are built-in to each masterplan, balancing residential and retail, and leisure and commercial space to create a place with its own opportunities to live, work and play, while remaining part of what is a very cosmopolitan city – which is a key focus of the Council’s local plan.”

In keeping with traditional town planning, a higher concentration of residential property in Countesswells will be created in the area surrounding the neighbourhood centre, with the density reducing to the north of the site.

The new community is being brought forward by Countesswells Development Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Stewart Milne Group. The development of Countesswells will be phased over fifteen years, with a total capital value of approximately £1 billion, boosting the local economy, supporting construction jobs in the north-east and creating new employment opportunities.

Across the other phases a new secondary school; additional primary school; healthcare facilities; and other community facilities will be developed. It’s high quality open spaces will link the community to existing environmental resources at Countesswells and Hazlehead.