Planning officials have been criticised over an apparent lack of ambition over the future development of Ellon.
The claim was made by Ellon Community County in a submission to councillors over the new local plan.
Formartine Area Committee met on Tuesday to consider responses to planners’ recommendations relating to the development brief.
Consultation took place over the main issues on current land use planning policies and wider settlement-related issues.
In total, 43 public meetings were organised throughout the region involving 1200 people.
Area committees are examining the responses and views will be considered by the infrastructure services committee next month.
Community leaders in Ellon have accused planners of appearing to show a “lack of ambition” over future development in the town.
In a letter to the Formartine Area Committee, the community council stated: “We are disappointed that officials are still maintaining their opposition to out-of-town retailing.
“It would appear that officials have a principle to resist such development for Ellon whilst encouraging it for many other towns.
“They refer to a preferred alternative but have failed to present anything of substance, meanwhile Ellon town centre continues to stagnate - Aldi excepted.
“Perhaps we should ask the planning officials to present their vision for Ellon town centre development at a public meeting - we strongly suspect they do not have one.”
The community council submission continued: “The recommendations do nothing to alleviate our concerns that current policies stifle economic development in Ellon and we find it incredible that the council’s own economic development department think that out-of-town retail would be bad for the town.
“The evidence in the 2013 survey does not support this position. Did they take the same view for Inverurie?”
However, the community council did welcome the recommendation for a mixed development of the academy sites.
Aberdeenshire councillors will also have the opportunity for final input on the local development plan at a full council meeting, probably on November 20.