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Agenda item



The Forum had before it a report by the Chief Officer – Strategic Place Planning, on a submission of a Proposal of Application Notice by Halliday Fraser Munro, on behalf of their client, Mrs S Buyers & Donald Farms Ltd, for a mixed use major development incorporating a new retirement community, the extension to and conversion of Binghill House to a care home, new purpose built retirement and residential accommodation and other supporting uses and community allotments, at Binghill house, Binghill Road Aberdeen, 190857.


The report advised that the application site sat to the north of Milltimber and was allocated as both Greenbelt and Green Space Network in the adopted Local Development Plan.  The site contained Binghill House which was a category C listed building, its grounds and adjacent land to the east at Binghill Farm.


The report advised that this proposal would constitute a major development.


The Forum heard from Mr Steve Crawford, Halliday Fraser Munro, agent for the proposal, who explained that the proposal was for age specific active retirement accommodation and to also open up the grounds of the house for public use.  Mr Crawford also noted that a Local Development Plan bid had been lodged for the proposal.


Mr Crawford explained that a Proposal of Application Notice had been submitted on 28 May 2019 and a public consultation event was held on 20 June 2019. The public consultation event was attended by 85 individuals with 50 written responses received.  Cults, Bieldside and Milltimber Community Council had been consulted on the proposals and were currently seeking comments from the community via their website.  Mr Crawford advised that since the public consultation event, the proposal had been reduced in scale and would be for the house and grounds only, there would be no mainstream housing but all retirement/age-specific properties and a potential to shift the housing northwards away from the southern site boundary.  The proposal would retain the following:-

  1. Retirement flats
  2. Retirements cottages
  3. Care home
  4. Community allotments
  5. Small on-site shop/café
  6. Public access


Mr Crawford advised that the key features would be a low rise, low impact development, low energy homes with low running costs, high quality modern kitchens and appliances, high speed broadband, video entry system for apartments, communal garden areas, pet friendly, discrete care and community allotments.


The Forum also heard from Shona Buyers, site owner and applicant.  Mrs Buyers explained that she had inherited Binghill House and had previously leased it out however was now looking at other uses for it.  She explained that when her father was ill, he wished to remain living in Milltimber but found it difficult to find a suitable bungalow in the area.  As a result, Mrs Buyers felt that there was a need for housing for people over 65 and for people to maintain an active lifestyle.  Mrs Buyers noted that they were proposing 50 to 60 low density bungalows or flats and hoped to get the tennis court re-established.  There were also extensive woodlands walks.


The Forum then heard from Professor Norman Hutchison, Independent Advisor, who advised that he had been looking at senior housing and there was a problem, following the baby boom in the 1960s.  He explained that the Cults, Bieldside and Milltimber area had more elderly residents than other areas in Aberdeen.  Professor Hutchison also advised that house builders were building family homes that were not designed for those who were less able.  He advised that Aberdeen required a development like this that would support independent living.


Mr Crawford concluded the presentation by advising that they would work up a masterplan for the site to go along with the application and gave details on the three key principles:-

  1. Sensitive development of small, low rise, low impact cottage style accommodation in the grounds and supported living apartments, possibly in the house.
  2. Retention and conversion/extension of Binghill House to provide closer care accommodation; and
  3. Modern, flexible and future proof homes.


Mr Crawford also intimated that they were keen to receive any further feedback before lodging the application.


The Forum then heard from Mr Gavin Clark, Case Officer, who addressed the Forum and provided details regarding the planning aspects of the application and responded to questions from members.  Mr Clark advised that as the proposal could be a significant departure from the Local Development Plan, a Pre Determination Hearing would be required, before being determined by Full Council.  Mr Clark also noted that Binghill House was categorised as listed.


Mr Clark explained that as part of the application, the applicant had been advised that the following information would need to accompany the formal submission:-

  • Pre-Application Consultation Report;
  • Design and Access Statement including Visualisations;
  • Heritage statement;
  • Sequential test (and potentially a Retail Impact Assessment;
  • Drainage Impact Assessment;
  • Noise Impact Assessment;
  • Phase 1 Habitat Survey;
  • Archaeological Survey;
  • Bat Survey;
  • Transport Assessment;
  • Travel Plan;
  • Landscaping and Maintenance Plans;
  • Low and Zero Carbon Buildings and Water Efficiency Statement; and
  • Affordable Housing Delivery Strategy.


Members then asked a number of questions of both the applicant and the case officer and the following information was noted:-

  • That the stone circle within the grounds was protected by Historic Scotland and would not be compromised by any potential development;
  • That the applicant would investigate the possibility of a bus service;
  • That electric car charging points would be available;
  • The design was at a very early stage in regard to the houses and as such was still being looked at and no final decision had been made in terms of designs, however it would also look at low energy housing; and
  • The applicant hoped to have extensive medical facilities in the development.


The report recommended:-

That the Forum –

(a)          Note the key issues identified;

(b)          If necessary, seek clarification on any particular matters; and

(c)        Identify relevant issues which they would like the applicant to consider and address in any future application.


The Forum resolved:-

(i)            to note the information provided from both the applicant and the case officer; and

(ii)          to thank the presenters for their informative presentation.


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