New planning blueprint for Aberdeenshire expected to come into force in March

Councillors will be asked in March to formally approve the latest blueprint for future development in Aberdeenshire after Scottish Ministers concluded their assessment of the Council’s vision for the region.

This marks the near completion of a four-year process of identifying how housing and business developments should progress over the next five years to foster continued economic growth.

More than a year after it was submitted to the Scottish Government, Aberdeenshire Council received the results of the examination of its Proposed Local Development Plan (LDP) today. (Wednesday)

The Proposed Plan was drawn up after two years of extensive consultation and engagement with communities, landowners and developers.

It is a blueprint for the future development of the area and sets out ambitious long-term and site-specific visions.

It will provide a practical framework within which the outcome of planning applications can be decided with a degree of certainty and efficiency.

Getting to this stage has taken more than four years and is the culmination of a lot of hard work by the council’s Development Plan Team.

The examination considered representations to the Proposed Plan and was carried out by the Government’s Directorate of Planning and Environmental Appeals (DPEA), on behalf of Ministers.

Following examination, the DPEA has now submitted a report to the council with conclusions and recommendations on each issue.

This report is largely binding on planning authorities, meaning that they may only depart from the recommendations if there are limited exceptional circumstances.

The examination was conducted by auditing written representations to the proposed plan and there was one hearing session held in August relating to the issue of “Housing Land Supply”.

It focused on whether the plan is “appropriate and sufficient” for the development needs of Aberdeenshire over the next 5-10 years and took just over a year to undertake due to the scale and the complexity of the issues raised.

The Proposed Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan 2016 was submitted to the Scottish Government on December 1, 2015 as the settled view of Aberdeenshire Council.

The examination considered 73 issues, responding to 840 unresolved representations. The report has recommended changes to some policies as well as sites, following consideration of the issues.

The report follows on from the Public Examination which considered unresolved issues arising from representations received to the proposed plan. 

Aberdeenshire Council will now consider the recommendations set out within the Examination Report and will ask local councillors for their views in January and February.

It is then expected to be considered by the Full Council in March, when councillors will be asked to agree and adopt the Local Development Plan for everyday use.

The Report is available at Aberdeenshire Council’s Woodhill House headquarters at: Westburn Road, Aberdeen, AB16 5GB.

It will also be available at area planning offices:

Banff and Buchan Area, Winston House, 39 Castle Street, Banff, AB45 1DQ,
Buchan Area, Buchan House, St Peter Street, Peterhead, AB42 1QF
Formartine Area, 45 Bridge Street, Ellon, AB41 9AA
Garioch Area, Gordon House, Blackhall Road, Inverurie, AB51 3WB
Kincardine and Mearns Area and Marr Area, Viewmount, Arduthie Road, Stonehaven, AB39 2DQ

The full report of the examination has been published on Aberdeenshire Council’s website.