Play facilities to be installed at Kingseat

Aberdeenshire Council
Aberdeenshire Council

A long running planning related issue at a residential development on the site of the former Kingseat Hospital, near Newmachar will be resolved next week.

Aberdeenshire Council will carry out work to form a community park and install play equipment, after the initial developer of the site, Avant Homes, failed to install the facilities as required.

The work had been a condition of the planning permission agreed for the site and late last year the council served planning enforcement notices to try to get the work moving.

Other than preliminary works there has been no significant progress from the developer or landowner, so the council will begin work on site from Monday (September 10) to deliver the park and play area and seek to recoup the cost.

The lack of community facilities at Kingseat has been an ongoing concern for the local community and Councillors for a number of years.

The enforcement notices were served in connection with two breaches of planning control, relating to the storage of spoil/materials and the lack of a play park.

The focus is on a fenced-off central area of the site where there was previously a bowling green and open space area within the former hospital complex. This was intended to form part of the open space/facilities for residents within the completed development.

Avant Homes had 12 weeks from October 20, 2017 to clear the spoil storage area and create a new open space area, including play equipment.

The notices were not appealed by the developer and the period for compliance expired on February 12.

Since then the site has changed ownership to ZTR Investments and Aberdeenshire Council gave the new owners time to comply with the notices, while making alternative arrangements.

Aberdeenshire Council’s Head of Planning, Robert Gray, said: “Although some preliminary clearing work was undertaken by the new owners there has been no significant progress in forming the park or installing the play equipment. As such the Council has appointed contractors to complete the works.

“The site owners, Kingseat Community Association, Newmachar Community Council and immediate neighbours to the development area have been formally notified of the start date.

“This is the first element of an attempt to facilitate completion of the wider development at Kingseat and deliver some much-needed community facilities for the residents.”

The work is expected to take up to 60 days to complete, depending on weather conditions.

East Garioch councillor Martin Ford said: "I will be delighted to see a play park in place at Kingseat.

"The Council's action is fully justified, though it has taken a long time to get to this point. Kingseat residents have been badly let down by the main developer of the site, and the Council has also been too slow to act.

"The play park included in the plans approved in 2004 is long overdue. It's more than twelve years since residents moved into the first new dwellings at Kingseat, so some children who moved to Kingseat early on have grown up without a play park close to their home."