Today Portlethen continues to expand and, within the last couple of years, we have seen new development to the west of the dual carriageway and once again we are faced with another “add-on” estate to Portlethen, albeit a very large one. This latest development is almost a separate community from the existing Portlethen and already the roadside village of Hillside has been swamped by it. Have we learned anything from the mistakes that have been made over the last forty years? I hope so.
One positive development, or one that we may hope is a positive development, is the assignment of an independent planning consultancy, Rapleys LLP, by Aberdeenshire Council to conduct a capacity study of the “Portlethen corridor” with the vision of obtaining a long term view of the settlements capacity to grow. This capacity study is looking at the implications of 100% growth in our area and takes into consideration all the villages in our area including Muchalls, Newtonhill, Cammachmore, Downies, Old Portlethen, Portlethen, Hillside, Findon and Marywell.
Already this study has identified four potential options, sites and solutions for Portlethen to expand but at this time these are only “potential” options. Maybe one of these options does include the answer to Portlethen’s problems and an opportunity to turn the “village” into a true community town; however I am sure that many people will have divided opinions on what the right way forward should be.
The one important thing that has been identified by Aberdeenshire council, and is mentioned as one of the core requirements within this study, is quoted on their website. It states “A key issue in the corridor is the lack of an identifiable town centre in the main settlement of Portlethen. This exists as a “retail park” rather than a town centre and the identifiable centre in an appropriate location would be of great benefit. This may need to consider the redevelopment or improvements to the existing area.”
That makes common sense and maybe, at last, the planners have a grasp of what Portlethen requires, albeit forty years too late. I need add no more in relation to the future of Portlethen; if you are sufficiently interested in what may (or may not!) happen in the future, then pay a visit to Aberdeenshire Council’s website where you’ll find a plethora of information and findings such as summaries, reports, recommendations and pretty little drawings that covers most aspects relating to the development of the area. Let’s hope for the good of the town of Portlethen, and the villages of Old Portlethen, Findon and Downies they get it right this time!