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Local Plan and AWPR

Please note the opinions and comments expressed on this web page are those of individuals. They are not necessarily a reflection of the community of Kingswells.

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UPDATE ON LOCAL PLAN & WPR: The last day for objections to the ACC Finalised Local Plan to be adopted, has passed. Kingswells has responded magnificently with over 500 objections received at St Nicholas House. We will have to wait until all the objections have been counted to know how many have been received from the whole city but we believe the number to be substantial. The Modified Finalised Local Plan was rejected 2 years ago, when most of the land reserved for building in the next 10 years was changed to be between Kingswells and Cults and between Countesswells and Airyhall - at the last minute. This present plan is from now to 2006 and then from 2006 to 2010 and after 2016 if needed. It appears to me, to be very similar or worse, with a few other places targeted. The "Countesswells Settlement" plan is already on paper and extends to 1500 houses, although the land is not available until 2010! Of course it takes a long time to plan a "settlement" but The Finalised Local Plan has not even been adopted yet. Developer's agents have been busy in the area trying to buy or obtain options on the land and even further afield. This building is planned to go on our precious Greenbelt, which is being swept away and re-named "Green Spaces &endash; New Places". Is this legally allowed? Some experts think not.

These developments are dependent on the building of the Western Peripheral Route, according to the Finalised Local Plan. Rumours abound about where the WPR might go but it is not yet determined. Considerable problems have been found along the planned route when boreholes discovered areas of deep bog and solid granite and there are other obstacles such as gas and oil pipe lines, listed buildings, the Broade Dyke, flood plains and the biggest of all &endash; Camphill. Rumours about the cost seem to escalate almost daily and people mention another Scottish Parliament in the making.

Have you noticed the yellow and green signs that suddenly appeared along the Kingswells to Countesswells road and the Kingswells round about? Did you notice their sudden disappearance? One night between 8pm and 10pm they were stolen! It wasn't the fairies but either a van or a tractor and trailer driven by humans. Because these signs were on private property, and it is a criminal offence to steal anything on private property, the police and the press were informed. Next day there was a picture in the P&J of 3 determined looking ladies from STAG Countesswells Group with one of these signs and several written columns against the road &endash; a whole half page! Since then, most of these signs have mysteriously reappeared &endash; thrown into hedges and woods and been re-erected but one has gone walk-about since, in the dark. Do you know who did it?

If you do not want this road, which would be so close to Kingswells and would destroy our beautiful countryside, Camphill and blight your life with air, noise and light pollution, you can write and tell the press, your Councillor, your MSP, your MP and the Scottish Executive. Most of the addresses can be found in the telephone book. There is no time limit on this but Nicol Stephen MSP is due to announce the "preferred route" sometime in November and he needs to know what you think. You may think that a bypass is needed. A different one has been suggested that starts at Stonehaven and uses the Netherly route and could go west of Culter. Some lorry drivers prefer this route. If you think another route is better, now is the time to say so.


Mrs Gillian MacKenzie, Nether Kingshill, Kingswells, Aberdeen AB15 8QB


I wonder if you have thought recently about who will be most affected by the WPR in our area? I did, after reading comments in the P&J last month. They pictured the Park& Ride and one of their heavy-duty drilling machines in the field, just behind the badger set and the vixen's earth on my land. The vixen has 2 cubs but they all went away because the tripods came on my land instead, thumping away. Happily the cubs have returned. The planners are just finding out that the Kingshill is a mass of solid granite, very close to the surface. It will be a very expensive operation to build an 8m deep dual carriageway through solid granite. I think that I will be looking for temporary accommodation elsewhere, if they do, or wearing a hard hat!

I came to the conclusion that the people of Kingswells who live on the northern edge of the town will be worst hit by the road. But do they realise what they are in for, if this road should ever be built? Over the last weeks, I have visited all the houses on the other side of the existing road and noted where all the boring is being carried out. Ian is right; the WPR is planned to run parallel to this road and only about 40 metres from it. Therefore, just the other side of the wooden fence will be 6 lanes of traffic, 2 lanes going at 50 mph and 4 lanes going at 70 mph! Two will be on the existing road and 4 on the new one. Think about it! The traffic going east on the existing road, after dark, will have on-coming traffic on BOTH SIDES! The dipped lights from the trunk road will go straight into the eyes of the slower moving traffic unless a high bank or fence is constructed! The noise pollution will be horrendous and the air pollution will be unbearable and it may well be lit on that stretch. What happens if there is an accident? What happens to the value of properties in the area? What happens to the health of the residents?

Let me take you on a brief trip along the west side of Kingswells and show you her treasures. Kingswells House was built in 1666 and was owned by only 3 families in its first 300 years (until the 60s). They were the Jaffreys, the Edmonds (of Edmonds & Ledingham) and the Calderwoods. It is a charming house whose walls are 3ft thick and surrounded by ancient trees and has a large walled garden. It is an A listed building and Mr Gladstone mentioned one of the holly trees in a letter in 1870; the holly tree is still in the garden and looks extremely healthy. The WPR was originally planned to go about 50m in front of the house and most of the trees would have been sacrificed leaving the house without protection. The noise at Ardene House Veterinary Hospital would be considerable as well as the air pollution. The planners agreed to alter the route to the east side of the house, coming very close to the Home Farm. Before it gets to the A944, a vast carbuncle is planned - a flyover over the A944 &endash;less than 100m away from Kingswells House! There will be a roundabout under the flyover, opening on to 4 slip roads. The noise from the A944 dual carriageway is considerable now, but add a 4-lane highway at 90degrees angle, an enormous junction, followed by a very steep hill to the southeast and you have purgatory! BUT the land to the east of Kingswells House has been discovered to be a very deep bog! So what now?

North of Kingswells House is Kingswells Home Farm. It is right in the way of the New Preferred Route so it has to go! The Broad Dyke lies at 90 degrees angle to the route. It is one of the main features of the countryside and can easily be seen from a plane. It is a "National Monument". It is a consumption dyke, which means that the stones were 'consumed' by it. They were picked up from the fields every time the land was ploughed. "It is the greatest dyke of its kind" - I quote - and is 500yds long, 30ft wide and 6ft high; it was built more than 200 years ago. Down the centre of the dyke, Dr Edmonds himself constructed a walkway of flat stones so the people could walk to Aberdeen from Westhills avoiding the mud and keeping their dresses clean. There are 2 breaks in the Dyke where the cattle could get water, and beautifully constructed steps lead down into these gaps and up the other side. Being a "National Monument" it may not be damaged and so another great flyover was planned! However, Historic Scotland has said "NO" to that and they must go round the end. At the end however there is an ancient wood. These are now quite rare and Woodland Trust are trying to save as many as possible. It is unlikely that this would be important enough to change the route of the WPR but it is certainly one of the Kingswells' Treasures and it would be sad to see it cut down.

So the new preferred route now has to curve round into Mr David Reid's fields by going round the west end of the Broad Dyke. But Mr Reid's Denburn Livery Stables, which are only a few years old and are planned to extend with a new house and office block, are in the way. Fifty or more horses are stabled there and there is a big indoor school and a sand ménage. They will have to go! Mr Reid was awarded a grant by ACC to start this business because horses are popular in the area and providing exercise, sport and jobs for a lot of trades. This venture has been very successful but it will have to go.

Travelling north and east round the curve in the road you come across Cloghill House. Like Kingswells House it is an A listed building. Beautiful old trees surround it and an avenue of yew trees line the drive so you cannot see it from the road. It was built in 1771 and a later addition at the back joins it to a small bothy. The nearby old steading has been converted into a delightful cottage. The preferred NEW route for the WPR is planned less than 100m north of this house and goes very close to 3 more houses whose owners are naturally distressed at the change. There was a tripod and drill to the west of the drive to Cloghill House and only 10m from the drill, when I was shown where there was an ancient stone circle and it is where the central reservation of the first preferred WPR was planned. The ancient stones have been piled beside the dyke, perhaps by a farmer, more than 2 hundred years ago. They are very large and still give off recordable energy. The central stone is an unusual kidney shape. A possible site of a stone circle was registered with ACC Architectural Department some years ago.

Going 2 or 3 hundred metres north east of Cloghill House is Fairley House, which is probably a Victorian mansion, but parts are much older. It was one of the feus created in 1551 at the same time as Kingswells, Cloghill and Derbeth and other well-known names like Rubislaw, Forresterhill, Countesswells, and Hazlehead etc. It is situated equally close to the WPR. Still further on is the farm of Derbeth, equally old and 40m from the WPR. The original house is now gone but the new houses will probably give less protection to their owners than the old one would have with its thick walls. If re-directed, the road may now go to the north of these houses.

Less than a mile south of Kingswells is Countesswells House &endash; yet another listed building but on a grander scale. Its stables and farm buildings have been converted into most attractive homes. The WPR is planned extremely close to all these buildings and also to the homes at Foggieton. The Water Wheel in Bieldside could also be demolished. The latter's history goes back to 1163 and the Murtle Mill, as it was named, was built about 1600. It milled oats for the army's porridge until well after WW2. Some of the original walls are to be seen inside the building and the vast wheel can be seen in the restaurant and still turns easily on its spindle.

We are told that the WPR is needed to solve all of Aberdeen's traffic problems and will bring prosperity to the city. But will it? As it is presently planned, the cost to our heritage and the cost to her citizen's lives, health and happiness would be a very high price to pay. There must be a better way. If you haven't already written to object to this road, please do so before it is too late. You can write to Nicol Stephen MSP Minister for Transport at Victoria Quay, Edinburgh EH6 6QQ. Aberdeen City Council's Local Plan will soon be published and we will have until the end of September to comment. It is important to respond and let them know the things you do like about the plan and the things you don't like.
By Gillian McKenzie (Posted 26.8.2004)

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Please note the opinions and comments expressed on this web page are those of individuals. They are not necessarily a reflection of the community of Kingswells.

This is a 'Soap-Box' page and it is not intended to offend the residents of Kingswells.


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