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Agenda item

Newmill Farmhouse, North Deeside Road, Peterculter - 230645

Members, please note that all plans and supporting documents relevant to the review can be viewed online here and by entering the application reference number 230645.


The LRB then considered the second request for a review to evaluate the decision taken by an appointed officer under the Council’s Scheme of Delegation to refuse the application for the extension to an existing garage to form an equipment store at Newmill Farmhouse North Deeside Road Aberdeen, planning reference number 230645.


The Chairperson stated that although the Planning Adviser for the LRB was employed by the planning authority, she had not been involved in any way with the consideration or determination of the application under review and was present to provide factual information and guidance to the Body only.  He emphasised that the officer would not be asked to express any view on the proposed application.


In relation to the application, the LRB had before it (1) a delegated report by the Appointed Officer, Aberdeen City Council; (2) an application dated 25 May 2023 (3) links to the plans showing the proposal and planning policies referred to in the delegated report; and (4) the Notice of Review submitted by the agent. 


Ms Greene then described the site and outlined the appellant’s proposal.    The application site was located to the west of Peterculter, on the edge of the city boundary and adjacent to the main A93 Aberdeen to Banchory road where it lies within an elevated position above the road level. The site extends to an area of some 0.25 hectares and comprises a former traditional granite farmhouse with 2 storey and conservatory extension to its northern gable resulting in a largely L-shaped residential dwelling which is centrally positioned close to the eastern boundary of the site. A single storey detached double garage with pitched slated roof, finished in a rough render with traditional granite stone frontage (east elevation) and single rooflights on both roofslopes is located within an area of garden to the south of the dwelling. The garage lies between the house and the boundary with the public road, where it is set back some 1.2m from the site boundary which is delineated by a low level (800mm high) drystone dyke beyond which is a sloping grass bank and the A93 road. The residential site was largely landscaped with trees and bushes across the garden grounds including along the boundaries, with at least a dozen of these mature trees which were located immediately to the west of the existing garage having recently been felled. The site was accessed via a driveway off the main road with the entrance shared with the two neighbouring houses located to the east and south east. To the north and west of the application site was agricultural land.


Ms Greene indicated that the appointed officer’s reasons for refusal outlined in the report of handling was as follows:-

·         The proposal was of an inappropriate scale, massing, footprint and  design which didn’t reflect proportions of domestic ancillary building;

·         The proposal would be overly dominant on the site and the surrounding area with a negative impact on the character of the Green Belt;

·         The proposal was prominent and was in an elevated position next to the A93 and the scale and massing of the proposal would have a negative effect on the landscape setting along the gateway route into the city;

·         It was contrary to policy on Green Belt and Design in the Aberdeen Local Development Plan and also National Planning Framework 4;

·         The impact on trees had not been demonstrated and additional tree loss in a sensitive and prominent location had potential to further impact on visual amenity and landscape character.;

·         The proposal was contrary to policy on Trees in the LDP and NPF4 and there was also degrees of conflict with Policy 1 (Climate & Nature Crisis) and Policy 2 (Climate Mitigation & Adaption) of NPF4.


Ms Greene outlined the key points from the appellant’s Notice of Review as follows:-

  • The space was needed for essential equipment that supported the sustainable living practices;
  • The existing garage was needed for vehicles and bicycles;
  • They were committed to maintaining the character of Newmill Farmhouse and the surroundings;
  • They proposed to plant new native trees;
  • They raised concerns about the application process and a reliance on Googlemaps;
  • The approach was proportional within the Green Belt, harmonious with the farmhouse and had minimal landscaping impact;
  • The extension blended seamlessly with the existing building; 
  • They were committed to environmental sustainability and climate resilience;
  • Expert consultants had confirmed there would be no impact on the trees which were sufficiently far and on a lower level; and
  • They proposed to plant 50 new native trees and install solar panels. 


In terms of Consultations, no letters of representation were received and no consultee comments.   


Ms Greene advised that the applicant had expressed the view that a site visit should take place before determination.


The Chairperson and Councillors Farquhar, Lawrence, Macdonald and Radley all indicated in turn that they each had enough information before them and therefore agreed that the review under consideration should be determined without any further procedure.


In terms of relevant policy considerations, Ms Greene referred to the National Planning Framework 4 and the Aberdeen Local Development Plan 2023.


Ms Greene responded to various questions from members, which related to the loss of trees, the scale and massing of the proposal and also the overall use of the proposed development.


Members each advised in turn and by majority they agreed to uphold the officers earlier decision and refuse the planning permission. 


In coming to their decision, the Local Review Body had regard to the provisions of the development plan as required by Sections 25 and 37 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 (as amended) and other material considerations in so far as these were pertinent to the determination of the application.


More specifically, the reasons on which the Local Review Body based this decision were as follows:-

The proposed garage extension was considered to be of an inappropriate scale, footprint, massing and design which does not reflect the typical proportions of a domestic ancillary building. It would appear overly dominant, including from outwith the site, fails to respect the context of the existing site and surrounding area and would have a considerable negative visual impact on the established character of the Green Belt. Taking into account the prominent and elevated position of the area of the site where the proposed extension would be located, next to the A93 Aberdeen to Banchory Road, a main arterial route providing access to the city, then it is considered that the significant scale and massing of the proposed development would have a particularly negative effect on the landscape setting along this important gateway route for the city. The proposal is therefore deemed contrary to the requirements of Policy NE1 (Green Belt) and Policy D1 (Quality Placemaking) of the Aberdeen Local Development Plan 2023 and to the requirements of Policy 8 (Green Belts), Policy 14 (Design, Quality and Place) and Policy 16 (Quality Homes) of National Planning Framework 4.


In addition to the above, the impact of the proposed development on existing trees within the site had not been suitably demonstrated and with recent felling of mature trees already having taken place within the footprint of the proposed development, it is apparent that any additional loss of trees within this sensitive and highly prominent location has the potential to further impact on and negatively affect visual amenity and landscape character. As a result the proposal is considered to be contrary to the requirements of Policy NE5 (Trees and Woodlands) of the Aberdeen Local Development Plan 2023 and Policy 6 (Forestry, Woodland and Trees) of National Planning Framework 4.


Finally, there was also considered to be a degree of conflict with Policy 1 (Tackling the Climate and Nature Crises) and Policy 2 (Climate Mitigation and Adaptation) of National Planning Framework 4.


There were no material planning considerations which would warrant approval of planning permission is this instance.