Residents to help shape design of community with online consultation

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Stewart Milne Homes, has launched a new website to support a pioneering style of community consultation that is being used for the next stage of development in Schoolhill, Portlethen.

This new “continental” approach enables local people to get involved in the design of their own community before architects start drawing up the master plan. In December, residents and councillors from Portlethen were invited to a workshop, led by a team of designers from Keppie Design, Stone Opera and Stewart Milne Homes to outline their vision for the next stage of development in Schoolhill.

Visitors to the workshop were able to demonstrate how they wanted Schoolhill to be developed using bespoke wooden building blocks, interactive maps and specially designed picture tiles placed on scrabble boards. The design tools allow local people of all ages to prioritise their needs such as play areas, dog walking areas and shops. They were encouraged to place their ideas on a map of the proposed development site to show the suggestions in context.

Using this method allowed the community to begin the master planning process with practical suggestions that will enhance the area for the people that live there. All progress can now be viewed on a new website devoted to Schoolhill – www.shapingschoolhill.com.

The results of the public consultation will be presented in Portlethen in February allowing members of the community to comment on the way their vision has been drawn up by the master planning team.

Marianne McGowan, Area Director with Stewart Milne Homes said: “This is a completely new style of community consultation for Stewart Milne Homes. It was

really exciting and encouraging to see local people get involved in drawing up the sort of community they want to live in.”

She added: “Some people were sceptical when they arrived but they quickly saw that we are deadly serious about this. We received lots of suggestions about the best way of creating a community with a heart in the Schoolhill, the kind of open spaces the locals would like, where to put the centre and the amenities that should be included.  Some of the ideas are extremely practical, others imaginative, but all have been extremely positive.”

Stewart Milne Homes is developing plans for Schoolhill in response to a call from Aberdeenshire Council for new developments to tackle a chronic shortage of housing to support economic development and job creation in the area.