Consultation open on Main Issues Report for Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan 2021

Communities, developers and anyone with an interest in local planning policy and land allocation for development are invited to take part in a consultation linked to the area’s emerging planning blueprint.

A Local Development Plan (LDP) sets out the policies that will be used for assessing planning applications and identifies development opportunities in an area.

The Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan 2021 is currently being prepared and as part of that process, planners have produced a Main Issues Report (MIR).

It is a document designed to create debate and comment, discussing all the bids received for development on sites across the area.

Prepared by planners after initial discussions with communities and councillors, it outlines what needs to change in the current 2017 LDP, and sets out preferred options alongside reasonable alternatives.

This includes changes to the policies used to determine planning applications as well as additional land allocated for development.
 
An invitation was issued early last year to the development industry and landowners to advise Aberdeenshire Council of which sites they think should be in the LDP, and why.
 
It is not expected there will be significant additional allocations of land in the next plan, although some sites in the existing plan that haven’t been developed could be replaced.
 
The MIR also takes account of views expressed by Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Scottish Water, Scottish Enterprise, Nestrans, and Grampian Health Board.

Eighteen issues are listed, relating to such matters as: Business Land and Town Centres, Tourist Facilities, Green Belt, Housing Numbers, Affordable Housing and Digital Infrastructure.

The MIR consultation opened this week (Monday, January 14) and anyone can take part online, or view related documents at a local library for the next twelve weeks.

“We know there will be proposals and allocations in the Main Issues Report which people won’t necessarily agree with, but this is a document designed to create debate and discussion,” said Peter Argyle, chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee (ISC).

“Aberdeenshire’s Local Development Plans have always sought as much community input as possible, which is what has given them strength and the latest, emerging plan is no different.

“We want people to participate in this consultation and help develop a planning blueprint for the area which reflects their needs as far as possible, providing housing and employment land and identifying community aspirations.”

Vice chair John Cox said: “The MIR is a key document which facilitates community engagement in the development of the LDP, outlining the main changes which officers suggest should be made following on from the preceding plan.

“In future councillors will be asked to consider all comments received during the consultation exercise and to make decisions taking all of those into account.”

A series of drop in sessions are being organised in communities throughout February and March so that anyone with an interest can discuss how the Main Issues Report may affect their area.

These will provide an opportunity to talk to one of the planners who have been involved in its preparation, and could assist in any response that may be made to the consultation.

Following the close of the consultation, all comments received will be analysed and the conclusions presented in reports to councillors as “issues and actions” papers, before work starts on producing the final Proposed Local Development Plan.

A Proposed Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan 2021 is then expected to be presented to councillors in November 2019.

You can see the Main Issues Report, take part in the consultation and see the arrangements for drop in sessions here: http://bit.ly/MIR2021
 
Updates on the Local Development Plan, including details of public events, can be found on Twitter at: @ShireLDP

The MIR consultation closes on Monday, April 8.