05 February 2024

Scottish Ministers confirm adoption of supplementary guidance on Aberdeenshire developer obligations and affordable housing

Important guidance setting out up-to-date schedules of the contributions which developers will be expected to pay to overcome the impacts of their developments in Aberdeenshire on things such as roads, schools, waste facilities, community and recreation facilities has been adopted.

As part of the examination into the Local Development Plan 2023, it was agreed that Aberdeenshire should produce supplementary guidance on the means of calculating the developer obligations and affordable housing contributions which should be asked of developers building new homes and businesses.

Aberdeenshire Council agreed draft supplementary guidance in November but has had to wait for Scottish Ministers to consider whether they would support the approach set out.

Ministers confirmed on Thursday (Feb 1) that they would not stop Aberdeenshire Council from adopting the guidance, paving the way for it to become a key part of the Statutory Development Plan.

The guidance notes that the sums identified represent the basis for detailed assessments based on the particulars of the proposed development, all in accordance with Scottish Government rules.

It also sets out those circumstances where exemptions will be made and reviews the viability of sites particularly relating to unforeseen costs that it would have been impossible for the developer to identify when they originally set out their proposals.

For affordable housing, it sets out the priorities for the delivery of the national requirement for 25% of all housing sites to include a proportion of affordable housing, as confirmed by the Local Development Plan 2023 and the triggers when this will be required.

It also sets out the exceptional circumstances when a cash payment can be made to help Aberdeenshire Council provide affordable homes instead of the physical provision of rented or subsidised housing on the development site.

Cllr Alan Turner, chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, said: “The supplementary guidance is a welcomed addition to our development plan, making it clear what is expected from developers and what the scale of the provision is likely to be. While the Local Development Plan 2023 sets out the principle through which we can ask for these payments, the supplementary guidance contains far more detail than would have been appropriate to include in the plan itself.”

ISC vice-chair Cllr Isobel Davidson added: “For the new plan, this guidance mirrors the approach which was taken in previous plan. However, by having this information in a separate document, it adds significant value in allowing us to be realistic in both the cost of infrastructure at this time and the changing market conditions which might affect the viability of development that we wish to see. Now we have a robust framework in place everyone involved in the process will know exactly what may be required and can obtain assessments on the specific requirements with a common understanding.”

The Supplementary Guidance has been published on the Aberdeenshire Council website at https://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/planning/plans-and-policies/ldp-2023/