SH July 20 Newsletter final - Page 9

In March we were pleased to receive two planning permissions for Blackhills
Quarry in Aberdeen on behalf of our clients Leiths (Scotland) Limited.
The proposal involved a lateral extension to the Blackhills Quarry which is
owned and operated by Leiths (Scotland) Ltd. The extension area covers an
area of some 15.5 hectares and provides for the extraction of an additional
6.36 million tonnes of granite. The proposal was unusual in that the extension
area falls within Aberdeenshire Council’s administrative area whilst the
existing quarry is under the jurisdiction of Aberdeen City Council. As the
proposal involved some changes within the existing quarry – most notably the
requirement for a conveyor - two planning applications were submitted one
each to Aberdeenshire Council and Aberdeen City Council. Stephenson Halliday coordinated the preparation
of the Environmental Statement and prepared the Planning Statement to accompany both applications. The
applications were submitted in October 2019.
Discussions with the two planning authorities led to an agreement that the information accompanying the
applications would be the same. The topics to be covered and level of information had been agreed with
both authorities through pre-application discussion. It was also agreed that the applications would be
submitted at the same time, and that the two authorities would endeavour to process the applications in
For both applications there were no substantive issues raised by any of the consultees other than those which
could be the subject of a planning condition. Perhaps more tellingly, there was not a single objection to either
application from the local community. The decision notices approving both applications were received at the
end of March.
The speed of these decisions, approximately 5 months, for what is a major quarry development, reflects the
benefits of operators working with communities and a recognition of the local economic benefits that mineral
extraction can bring. The quarry at Blackhills has been operating for many years and is home to Leiths HQ.
The quarry employs 18 staff directly but also supports approximately 30 drivers and 50 support staff. The
absence of any local opposition to a proposal was particularly useful in obtaining positive and expeditious
decisions. This was supplemented by the benefits of collaborative working between applicants, agents, and
local planning authorities. For the scale of development this was a remarkably smooth navigation through the
planning system!
Page 7

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