Elsick Development Company – Chapelton

Chapelton is a new town in Aberdeenshire, which has been promoted by the Elsick Development Company (EDC), a family-controlled company representing the Duke of Fife and neighbouring landowners. The community, which is anticipated to accommodate 4,045 houses by 2023 and up to 8,000 in the long-term, is designed to encourage pedestrian activity and lessen car dependence, with shops, jobs and schools all within walking distance of all residences. The town will set a new standard for Aberdeenshire and will offer a strong contrast to the small-scale, single-use suburban development that is more prevalent in the region.

Turnberry has worked alongside Elsick Development Company to develop this vision and test the feasibility of the masterplan, which was designed in a public charrette in September 2010 by US-based masterplanners, Duany Plater-Zyberk and Company. The public charrette attracted hundreds of local residents and provided feedback to the design team. Parties attending the charrette included local councillors, Council professionals, representatives from national agencies including Scottish Natural Heritage and Scottish Water and others, as well as local residents. The final masterplan included a number of concepts proposed by charrette participants, relating to both urban design and the architecture of individual houses.

After completing the public charrette, Turnberry managed the design and delivery process, working with a multi-disciplinary team including architects, engineers, landscape designers, schools specialists and environmental specialists. The team not only finessed the masterplan but also developed the 802-house first phase to a level of detail appropriate to a full planning application. Designed to include a neighbourhood retail centre and a network of parks, this first phase comprises a network of well-connected blocks, fully permeable and inspired by Scottish architectural precedents.

Turnberry completed a full planning application for this first phases, as well as an outline application for the first 4,045 houses of the settlement, in September 2011, less than one year after the charrette enabling the Chapelton site to be considered alongside the Local Development Plan.

Critical to that process was the preparation of an Infrastructure Report which clearly articulated the type of phasing of infrastructure required in support of the development of the new settlement. In our experience, delivery of infrastructure is a key issue in determining a site-allocation process.

Planning Permission in Principle and Detailed Permission for Phase 1 was granted on 2nd October 2013, with ground broken on the same day.

Since successfully obtaining detailed permission for Phase 1, Turnberry has continued to scope the delivery of the first phase, which comprises 250 houses, and associated infrastructure. Turnberry managed the careful selection of appropriate delivery partners and the structuring of a Phase 1 infrastructure package. This infrastructure package is now being delivered on-site and has triggered the release of land to three separate house builders. This has included careful cash-flow analysis to ensure the initial outlay for infrastructure is balanced by the early release of plots to delivery partners. Offsetting infrastructure costs in this manner will subsequently enable EDC to promote future phases of development.

In support of this process Turnberry has continued to lead and promote stakeholder engagement. This has included detailed negotiations with utility companies to secure a phasing plan for the delivery of utility upgrades. We have also established a Community Liaison Committee, including key local and national stakeholders, to tackle any issues that may arise as the project progresses, as well as a separate Monthly Project Meeting with Aberdeenshire Council to remove any obstacles to statutory consents and other issues affecting the delivery programme. The Liaison Committee will form the platform for the development of the community and the representation of its views.

Turnberry also led the process of selecting developers and closing deals. Whilst there is a range of design delivery options for Chapelton, they decided to design the buildings in the first instance to create the brand, thereby driving long-term value. This reduced the initial land value but has resulted in increased value in the Phase 2 transaction and an obvious differentiation from other sites within the housing market area.