Council adopts local plan

THE new local development plan for Aberdeenshire has now been adopted.

The council became only the third local authority in Scotland to do so under new planning law at midnight last Thursday.

Scottish Ministers have confirmed they do not require any modification to the document, paving the way for its everyday use as a planning blueprint.

It marks the end of a four-year process which included two major consultation exercises attracting over 6,000 detailed responses, as well as more than 20 committee meetings and a public examination by Government reporters.

In April, councillors agreed to adopt the plan and its supplementary guidance on June 1, subject to modifications which may have been required by Ministers.

They have now confirmed they do not propose any modifications to the plan, which now replaces the 2006 blueprint.

There is still the possibility of a formal legal challenge in the Court of Session for a six-week period following adoption. Such a challenge would have to be made on the grounds that processes associated with the plan have not been complied with.

Councillor Peter Argyle. chairman of the authority’s infrastructure services committee, said: “This plan is a true reflection of how the previous council worked together and with our communities to ensure that Aberdeenshire remains the best in Scotland.”

Although councillors voted to adopt the plan, some expressed disappointment at amendments made by a Scottish Government reporter relating to housing in Newmachar, Newburgh and Udny Green.

Councillor Argyle added: ““My pleasure in seeing the plan adopted is tinged with regret that there are some issues the previous council would have preferred to have seen changed from the Reporter’s recommendations, but because the law is clear on this matter, we were unable to challenge.

“Ministers must recognise that, at the end of the day, the development plan is a matter of local negotiation and democracy.”