SEVEN years ago, Chapelton was catapulted into the draft Local Development Plan with a unanimous verdict from all 12 Kincardine and Mearns councillors, offering us at Elsick Development Company the opportunity to justify the awarding of outline planning permission for 4,000 homes. In 2010, work really began in earnest to design a mixed community to be proud of - not simply homes, but a development offering retail and commercial buildings alongside residential, south of Aberdeen, a fully-fledged new town. We were acutely conscious of our responsibility and made sure that we put public consultation at the very heart of every decision as we wanted to ensure that we worked to offer what the area was lacking. Armed with ideas and suggestions from locals and with the help of over 250 experts, these plans were submitted for planning in 2011 and permission granted in 2013, allowing us to move fast to get utilities to the site. To deliver the plans with us, three building firms were appointed and collaborated with ourselves on the house designs and with each other to produce a harmonious streetscape and we continue to develop new areas as we move on from the first homes. If we had to pick one word to describe the ethos of everything we do it would be community. Community is central to creating a great place to live. Setting the tone from the outset we started a tearoom and coffee shop with Anita Collin at the helm even before the first foundations went in. It continues to be the centre of activity for residents and visitors alike but has moved into permanent premises in the first square. Following Teacake, the first business to get started was a nursery school. Croft Nurseries has opened a state-of-the-art building that blends in with its environment and was purpose built for them, a beauty salon and nail bar has opened and we are in discussions to offer a pub/bistro/bar as this is much in demand. It has been a challenging housing market over the past year, but our focus on consultation has reaped dividends and the design team has been quick to respond to the changing needs of the housing market. Plans have been altered to accommodate a variety of new and smaller homes at affordable prices. Apartments, terraced houses, single storey cottages around courtyards will also be joined by a retirement village at the heart of the community later this year. Chapelton is about living, but also about jobs and we are fortunate to be able to facilitate all sizes of businesses within the masterplan. Anyone with ideas or opportunities can approach us and have a bespoke building drawn up and designed within Chapelton. We are also pursuing the idea of a rural community hub featuring new business incubation units to offer start-up companies a sociable beginning – and all with ultra-fast broadband, the first community in Scotland to offer these speeds. To be able to live, work and play in one area simplifies life and is what Chapelton can offer. Come and see the homes on offer or contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.