05 February 2024

Consultation launched on Aberdeenshire Council's Development Plan Scheme 2024

Every year Aberdeenshire Council has to prepare and publish a document called a Development Plan Scheme.

This sets out the anticipated programme for the production of the Local Development Plan and how people can get involved in its production.

Recent changes in the law mean that the council must publish a draft of this document and consider the views of people who wish to comment.

Aberdeenshire Council has now started that process by publishing the draft Development Plan Scheme 2024 on its Engage Aberdeenshire LDP consultation hub, and will be inviting residents and more than 700 community groups and businesses within the area to give their views.

A brief survey is provided to assist people in responding to the consultation which is available online here: https://engage.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/hub-page/local-development-plan-2027

The consultation runs until March 15, with the results being presented to the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee for consideration on May 16.

The Development Plan Scheme sets out the timetable for the plan’s production and focuses on how people can get involved in the current stages of work.

This year it builds on the last Development Plan Scheme 2023 and marks progress towards the production of the plan.

Unfortunately, that progress has not been as good as anticipated, with significant slippage in the programme set out last year.

While progress has been made on the first element of the plan’s preparation, namely production of the Evidence Report, this has been hampered by the need to conduct original research on open space, and further delays have occurred in the production of other important pieces of information such as the Aberdeenshire Local Housing Strategy.

As a result Aberdeenshire Council does not anticipate adoption of the next Local Development Plan until Spring 2029 – a year later than originally proposed.

Cllr Alan Turner, chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, said: “The delay in the Local Development Plan is unfortunate and we will do as much as we can to recoup some of the time lost, but we are content that, as the current LDP was designed for a ten-year lifespan, this delay is not to the detriment of either businesses or our communities. “Notwithstanding this delay, we will continue to have a robust framework in place for decision-making through the application of the National Planning Framework 4 and our own Local Development Plan 2023.”

ISC vice-chair Cllr Isobel Davidson added: “The new Development Plan Scheme continues the processes set out in 2023 for the Evidence Report and indicates that some of the time lost will be used to prepare other assessments early, such as the Environmental Impact Assessment, to inform the production of the Proposed Local Development Plan.”

The Development Plan Scheme 2024 reaffirms the council’s commitment to using the national standards for community engagement. It also continues the process of preparing topic papers to inform the Evidence Report and sheds more light on how the “call for ideas” stage of the plan-making process will be conducted.

While welcoming community-led Local Place Plans, the plan also commits staff to assisting community groups in understanding and responding to the land development issues facing them and exploring how the development planning system can respond.