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Aberdeenshire formally agrees a proposed Local Development Plan including new sites in Turriff, Fyvie and Newburgh

By David Porter

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Aberdeenshire Council is to embark on an eight-week public consultation following approval of its Proposed Local Development Plan (LDP) 2020.

Council leader Jim Gifford.
Council leader Jim Gifford.

The latest plan will direct decision-making on all land-use planning issues and planning applications across Aberdeenshire over the next five years.

Although Aberdeenshire Council has until April 2022 to publish its new Local Development Plan, it wants to have it formally adopted by the end of 2021.

It will submit its proposals to Scottish Ministers for examination later this year.

Once every five years the council is required to publish a new plan for the area to inform and advise developers and communities of the principles on which built development should follow and where it should be located.

This will be the last Local Development Plan to be published prior to new provisions within the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 with regards to a 10-year plan.

The content of the proposed LDP remains largely unchanged from the existing Local Development Plan 2017, featuring an ongoing vision of helping develop a strong and resilient economy, promoting a high quality of life and sustainable, low carbon places.

It also seeks to ensure that the exceptional cultural and natural environment across Aberdeenshire is protected and enhanced.

New housing opportunities have been identified across Aberdeenshire including sites at Banchory, Echt, Fetterangus, Fyvie, Gourdon, Inverurie, Newburgh, Pitmedden, St Combs and Turriff among others.

Development continues to be focused towards the three strategic growth areas along the A90 north and south and the A96.

Aberdeenshire Council has also taken a positive step in removing long-standing sites which have failed to be delivered.

Policies contained within the proposed LDP are intended to ensure the long-term sustainability and prosperity of the area and direct the right development to the right place in line with national policy.

Aberdeenshire has had a fully up-to-date LDP for a number of years which ensures that new developments take place alongside the provision of facilities such as schools and in places where the transport system is either suitable for dealing with the increased travel demand or can be improved.

During Thursday’s full council meeting the authority considered feedback from its area committees and Infrastructure Services Committee, elected members and a range of stakeholders on the content following evaluation of the Main Issues Report which is a statutory precursor to a proposed Local Development Plan.

There was also general discussion around a number of outstanding matters in relation to both housing and employment land, with councillors hearing from a number of developers and agents who sought inclusion of several development bids not included in the proposed plan.

A number of votes were taken on several of these outstanding matters but failed to gain support towards inclusion within the proposed plan.

Following the debate, council leader Jim Gifford said: “We are very confident that our proposed Local Development Plan will achieve our aims of helping to develop a strong and resilient economy, whilst maintaining our high quality of life and our exceptional environment.

“The benefits of future development following a clear plan-led system help us tremendously in terms of providing services and scheduling transport improvements, as well as providing certainty about the future both to communities and developers.”

Depute leader Peter Argyle added: “This process has been a massive but hugely important undertaking which will have a very positive impact on the north-east in the years to come.

“On behalf of Aberdeenshire Council I would like to thank all those within our communities who engaged with us and made comment on the Main Issues Report, all those who took time to address us in the chamber today, and all our officers who have worked tirelessly over many months to bring the proposed plan to fruition.”

The council’s Head of Planning, Paul Macari, said: “The policy framework contained within the proposed LDP outlines a sustainable development strategy for Aberdeenshire with a focus on maximising development opportunity, delivery, regeneration and conservation of our built and natural environments.”

The proposed LDP recommendations and documents can be found online here: http://committees.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/committees.aspx?commid=1&meetid=19572

The meeting of the full council was broadcast live and can be viewed here: https://aberdeenshire.public-i.tv/core/portal/home

Public consultation on the proposed LDP will commence on Monday, April 27 and run until June 19.

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