February 17, 2015
In the light of some recent media coverage, we would like to make it clear that EDC and the landowners it represents are not attempting to avoid their obligations to contribute to road improvements. The law states that we should pay for improvements arising from the traffic caused by our development but not for those needed because of existing traffic or other developments. The Strategic Transport Fund levy that the Council is seeking to impose through s75 Agreements (which determine developers’ contributions) would have the latter effect. Many in the development industry have pointed out the flaws of the STF and a Reporter, acting on behalf of the Scottish Government, has since deemed the Council’s approach to be contrary to Planning Policy and thus unlawful.
In anticipation of the STF being deemed invalid, a standard clause was included in our s75 Agreement requiring its removal once that was proven. EDC is now seeking, entirely in accordance with the Agreement, confirmation from the Council that the STF contribution will be replaced with something that reflects our true liabilities in respect of road improvements.
We utterly refute the suggestion, as reported, that our Planning Permission would not have been granted on such terms. It was on exactly these terms, imposed by the Council, that the application was considered and granted.
We are committed to investing in the infrastructure required to support our community and those living around us. In terms of road improvements, these have been determined as part of an impact assessment undertaken by EDC in agreement with, and subsequently approved by, the Council.
Over and above the requirements of the s75 Agreement, EDC has invested over £1m in a new roundabout at Newtonhill and will soon be spending hundreds of thousands of pounds to improve the A90 at Portlethen. This summer we will be opening a Park and Choose facility served by a community bus service to provide residents with a sustainable alternative to using their car. Most importantly, we will also be providing a new junction on the A90 at a cost of over £12 million required for the next phase of Chapelton.