Innovation Exchange

Chapelton of Elsick

Introduction

Key activities

Benefits and impacts

Learning

Chapelton of Elsick is a £2billion project to deliver a high quality sustainable new town. It is currently the most significant development taking place in Aberdeenshire, and is crucial to delivering housing and employment to meet the needs of the Aberdeen to Laurencekirk strategic growth area for the next 30 years. Ultimately the ambition is for the town to become one of the largest in Aberdeenshire.

 

On the granting of planning permission, a number of delivery challenges were apparent:

 

  1. There was substantial amount of detail to be agreed with Council departments and statutory consultees in areas such as education, road construction consent (RCC), traffic orders, waste collection, construction management and infrastructure design.

  2. In particular, innovative street designs were being developed for RCC and these required extensive dialogue as they did not comply with more standardised designs.

  3. Service providers were anxious to coordinate their delivery or roll out of services in support of the emerging new community.

  4. There was general concern in the community around how the delivery of the scheme would be managed and how existing services would be affected until such time Chapelton could support its own.

 

In order to ensure the successful delivery of the development it was clearly apparent that a new approach was needed to manage the range of issues and stakeholders involved in the development of a new settlement.

 

The Chapelton project was, and remains a development project/ development allocation of a scale never previously undertaken within the North East of Scotland, it was clear that the effective delivery of Chapelton would be dependent upon the Council’s ability to co-ordinate and manage the multiple interests of not only the Council but also external bodies such as utility suppliers and public transport providers.

Theme: Partnership and Collaboration

aberdeenshire council logo

In order to achieve this it was essential that a regular forum was set up to provide a platform for discussion and agreement on a range of issues with all stakeholders. Monthly project meetings are undertaken, facilitated by the Councils Delivery Team, to achieve this with action points pursued between meetings to ensure that progress on matters relating to the delivery of the site is maintained.

 

Project meetings generally cover a variety of issues and statutory consents (e.g. building warrants, RCC, planning applications, education infrastructure, health infrastructure, affordable housing, water & drainage infrastructure, and waste requirements). Typical issues can include:

 

  • Street Design – A suite of new high quality street design details have been discussed in support of Chapelton’s complex but innovative street hierarchy. This has involved extensive dialogue based on a Quality Audit process advocated by the Scottish Government in its Designing Streets Policy.

  • Education – Coordination between the Council and the applicant in terms of phasing and design including infrastructure planning and re-zoning to support a new school.

  • Services – Liaising with service providers to understand or identify how existing services are being affected or will be phased in e.g. the phasing of a new doctor’s surgery.

  • Infrastructure – agreeing the route and phasing of future water infrastructure, including firefighting capacity with the Fire Service.

 

All stakeholders attend one meeting meaning decisions and actions can be agreed across different services or disciplines.

 

Separately Community Liaison Meetings ensure the community and local Councillors are kept informed and have the opportunity to raise any concerns around construction, phasing or services with EDC and its contractors. This has proved beneficial in terms of the relationship between the new settlement, developers and in future new residents and the established community in the area.

The delivery process has been crucial in overcoming a range of issues and challenges, which may have otherwise potentially delayed the project. For example the dichotomy between the desire for high quality materials against concerns centred on maintenance costs in relation to road details have been overcome through this regular interface between relevant parties.

The process has meant that all stakeholders are made aware of the requirements and high standards of this new settlement, and that all partners have ownership of the project and retain a shared commitment towards the creation of a world class development. The first stage of Chapelton is now on the ground, and the emphasis on place making and high quality development is visible. Substantial infrastructure works have been completed and three show homes are open. The first residents have moved in, and it is anticipated that by the end of the year over 100 properties will be built. It is unprecedented to move a new town proposal from concept to development on the ground within 5 years. All partners have engaged in the process, and created a mutually beneficial process which has ensured the development is progressing on schedule.

 

This has also been of benefit in terms of the local community, the development of such a significant project and creation of a new settlement led to concerns about upheaval, disturbance, impact upon services for local residents but these forums have provided an opportunity for these to be addressed in a timeous manner and ensure residents are kept up to date with the progress of the site. The Delivery Process has moved the community from concern to a position of considerable support for the project, helping the new community to integrate with existing ones around it.

The Chapelton project was, and remains a development project/ development allocation of a scale never previously undertaken within the North East of Scotland, it was clear that the effective delivery of Chapelton would be dependent upon the Council’s ability to co-ordinate and manage the multiple interests of not only the Council but also external bodies such as utility suppliers and public transport providers.

 

The Delivery process at Chapelton to date has been crucial, performing a key role in facilitating regular project meetings between key parties en route to a start on site being made in October 2013 and continuing throughout the ongoing construction. The Council and the Delivery team thereafter have remained as a constant in the progression of the Chapelton development, continuing to facilitate separate developer and resident focused project meetings whilst establishing the Delivery team as the main point of contact for the developer and other stakeholders to approach with any queries relating to any individual Council services with an interest in Chapelton.

 

Overall Chapelton remains one of the best examples of cross-sector collaboration throughout the planning process which the Council has been involved with to date to deliver a significant high quality mixed use development in Aberdeenshire. It is also an unprecedented project in terms of moving a new town proposal from concept to development on the ground within 5 years. All partners have engaged in the process highlighted to date, creating a mutually beneficial process which has ensured the development is progressing on schedule and will continue to do so into the future. This fine example of collaborative working was given recognition in 2015 with the Chapelton process receiving a commendation at the Quality in Planning Awards for ‘delivery in partnership’ between landowners, agents and Aberdeenshire Council.

Contact details:

To find out more about this case study, please contact:

 

David MacLennan

Project Co-ordinator (Delivery)

Aberdeenshire Council

01224 664257

Case study added to site: June 2016

Please report any errors using this web form

Improvement Service, working in partnership with

solace scotland logo