ISC Round-up 1.12.16

The latest meeting of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee (ISC) began with an application for full planning permission for the conversion and change of use of the hotel and restaurant at Cammies, Cammachmore to seven flats. Councillors had already given permission for an application relating to the site, near Newtonhill, but a successful legal challenge to the Strategic Transport Fund Guidance, which inhibits the council’s ability to seek contributions to the Strategic Transport Fund, meant there was a new material consideration to be taken into account in planning terms, and the planning application had to be reassessed. Councillors were told no contributions to local transportation infrastructure are required from the development, given its small scale, and went on to give it their approval.

Update and future involvement in KIMO

The committee agreed that Aberdeenshire Council should remain a member of KIMO (The Local Authorities International Environmental Organisation), an organisation of European coastal Local Authorities, following an update on its work over the last year.

Founded in 1990 by just four authorities (including Grampian Regional Council), membership of KIMO has grown and now stands at more than 70 Local Authorities, drawn from seven countries with Northern Seas coastlines.

Councillors considered and noted activities described in the KIMO International Annual Report 2016, in addition to those of KIMO UK over the last year.

KIMO UK continues to operate Fishing for Litter Scotland and Fishing for Litter South West. Almost 1,200 tonnes of marine litter has now been recovered from our seas by the projects with 24 harbours (including Peterhead and Fraserburgh) and more than 300 fishing vessels participating.

The committee also agreed to continue to support Fishing for Litter at Peterhead and Fraserburgh Harbours. Collection of the waste brought out of the sea by fishermen at the ports is supported by Aberdeenshire Council up to the cost of £4,000 per year.

More information on the work of KIMO can be seen on its website.

The report to committee, including the Annual Report 2016 and details of activities carried out by KIMO UK, is available to view on our website.

Town Centre First Principle

The health of town centres is now enshrined in local decision making by Aberdeenshire Council, in the interest of economic recovery and sustainable economic growth.

The Town Centre First Principle was launched jointly by the Scottish Government and Cosla in January 2015, following an independent review of town centres across Scotland.

Public organisations were invited to commit to the principle, taking a wider view of town centre development beyond the traditional development planning approach, in order to incorporate other decisions the public sector makes which can influence town centre viability.

The Town Centre First Principle states that town centres are a key element of the economic, social and environmental fabric of Scotland’s towns; often at the core of community and economic life, offering spaces in which to live, meet and interact, do business and access facilities and services.

It urges public bodies to “take collective responsibility to help town centres thrive sustainably, reinvent their function, and meet the needs of residents, businesses, and visitors for the 21st century”.

The committee unanimously approved the Town Centre First Principle as a policy for Aberdeenshire Council.

Speaking after the meeting, ISC chairman David Aitchison said: “Essentially what this means is that we are putting town centres first in all the decisions that we’re making as a council.

“This means at Local Area Committees, central policy committees and at all other meetings of the council where decisions are taken, that the vibrancy, equality and diversity of our town centres will be key.“

ISC vice chair, Graeme Clark, said: “In determining relevant planning applications, the council has always considered the viability of our local town centres, but this goes much wider than that.

“Beyond the planning service, all council departments will now have an eye on how their decisions can be made to ensure healthy and prosperous centres at the heart of local communities.”

You can see more information about the decision on the news section of our website

Trading Standards Service – Annual Review 2015-16

The committee thanked the Trading Standards Service for its “vital work” after receiving an update on the team’s activity over the past year.

The key aim of Trading Standards is to protect consumers and promote safe and fair trading, achieved through inspections of trade premises to ensure they are trading in compliance with statutory requirements and by investigation of complaints.

This protects not only the consumer but also the legitimate local business by providing a level playing field, councillors heard.

You can see the range of work carried out by Trading Standards in the Annual Review, which is available as part of the report to committee on our website.

Special meeting of ISC

A Special Meeting of ISC took place following conclusion of the business above.
The meeting was called to look at a planning application for a wind turbine at Beechwood, Forglen, Turriff which had already been approved by Banff and Buchan Area Committee.

Due to the emergence of a new material consideration, the application required to be determined again, this time by ISC.

Before discussing the application, a motion by councillor Ron McKail (Westhill and District), seconded by Provost Hamish Vernal (Inverurie and District), for a site visit was successful.

Councillors will now go to the application site to see it for themselves, prior to discussing the matter further and taking a decision.