Council consultation on development plan

Aberdeenshire Council's Woodhill House headquarters.
Aberdeenshire Council's Woodhill House headquarters.
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ABERDEENSHIRE Council is to embark on extensive consultation on the latest local development plan.

It will involve community groups, other stakeholders and councillors as the work detailed in the scheme gets underway.

The four-year project will lead to the creation of a new local development plan that will set a framework for development of land in the region from 2016-2021 and beyond.

The current plan was adopted in July, 2012, and provides detailed information up to 2016. Development of the next plan will involve three key stages of consultation.

The main focus for 2013 is informal engagement with community and stakeholder groups to result in a ‘Main Issues Report’ in October, 2013.

This document will outline what needs to change from the current plan, and set out preferred options alongside reasonable alternatives. This will include changes to the policies used to determine planning applications as well as additional land allocated for development.

An invitation has already been issued to the development industry and landowners to advise Aberdeenshire Council of which sites they think should be in the Local Development Plan, and why.

It is not expected that there will be significant additional allocations of land in the next plan, although some sites in the existing plan that haven’t been developed may be replaced.

Dates for community council, stakeholder and area committee seminars to scope potential main issues have been set for March and April of this year.

The Main Issues Report will also take account of views expressed by Scottish Natural Heritage, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Scottish Water, Scottish Enterprise, NESTRANS, and Grampian Health Board.

Following publication of the Main Issues Report there will be public engagement which will lead to the production of a proposed Local Development Plan towards the end of 2014.

The Scottish Government will then lead public examination of objections to the proposed plan. Assessing formal objections and holding the examination is estimated to take around 18 months.

The new local development plan and associated supplementary guidance is expected to be adopted in April, 2016.

Publication of the Local Development Plan Scheme was approved at a recent meeting of the infrastructure services committee.

Committee chairman Councillor Peter Argyle said: “We were pleased to see a great amount of public interest in the creation of the Local Development Plan approved in 2012. What we want to do now is build on that success to ensure as wide a range of views as possible is gathered to shape the next plan.

“Although this is a council-led process, it really is the input from those we consult with that makes the final plan such a relevant and valuable guidance document.”

More information on the Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan can be found at