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Aberdeenshire Council recognised at Royal Town Planning Institute awards


By Kyle Ritchie

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Work to develop the Fraserburgh Beach Vision and Masterplan in 2022 and 2023 and a senior planner have been recognised by winning prestigious planning awards from the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).

The project was entered into the 2024 RTPI Scotland Awards for Planning Excellence with the success announced at an event in Edinburgh on June 24.

Nominated in partnership by Kevin Murray Associates and Aberdeenshire Council, the project was submitted in the category Excellence in Plan Making Practice and focused on the robust and detailed community engagement work carried out over a 15-month period, the creative work with schools, the co-design approach and the transferability of the process to other projects.

Work to develop the Fraserburgh Beach Vision and Masterplan has been recognised by winning a prestigious planning award from the Royal Town Planning Institute.
Work to develop the Fraserburgh Beach Vision and Masterplan has been recognised by winning a prestigious planning award from the Royal Town Planning Institute.

In another Aberdeenshire success on the night, Senior Planner James Hewitt walked away with the Scottish Young Planner of the Year 2024 award in recognition both for his work in Aberdeenshire but also for his wider contribution to profession as chairman of the Scottish Young Planners Network.

Aberdeenshire Council’s head of planning and economy Paul Macari (centre) congratulates Alastair Rhind (left) and James Hewitt on the award successes.
Aberdeenshire Council’s head of planning and economy Paul Macari (centre) congratulates Alastair Rhind (left) and James Hewitt on the award successes.

Funded by the council’s Regeneration Reserve and the Smarter Choices, Smarter Places budgets, the Fraserburgh Beach Vision and Masterplan was led by the Economic Development, Planning and the Banff and Buchan Area Manager services.

External support came from Kevin Murray Associates, Rob Thompson Urbanism and Willie Miller Urban Design. The masterplan was endorsed by the Banff and Buchan Area Committee in November 2023.

The masterplan looks to build upon recent regeneration work in Fraserburgh by focusing on how the waterfront could do more to contribute to local economic, health and wellbeing priorities.

Intended to be a long-term vision, the masterplan identifies several projects that will now be worked up in greater detail by council services and local partners, overseen by the Banff and Buchan Area Management Team and the Community Planning Partnership.

The judges commended Aberdeenshire Council and Kevin Murray Associates on the robust approach to developing the masterplan, taking time to get it right and do it well, the co-design approach and replicability, fit with NPF4 principles and council priorities and the staged approach to community engagement and inclusion of young people.

The project will now be put forward to be considered alongside other UK regions, with the national finalists being announced in mid-October and the winners announced at the RTPI national awards ceremony in London at the end of November.

It is another great achievement for Fraserburgh, which also won a RTPI Scotland award in 2022 for the Fraserburgh 2021 Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme work.

Councillor Alan Turner, chairman of the council’s infrastructure services committee, said: “This is tremendous recognition for our services and partners who have undertaken such comprehensive and carefully considered community engagement during the creation of a very exciting masterplan for the Fraserburgh beach area.

All those from the community who participated in the process can rightly take ownership of the masterplan and feel proud to have played a key role in its development.

Vice-chairwoman councillor Isobel Davidson said: “We are all very proud to see one of our senior planners, James Hewitt, receiving the Scottish Young Planner of the Year award.

“This is richly-deserved recognition not only for the tremendous work he undertakes on our behalf on planning projects across Aberdeenshire, but also his dedication to supporting and encouraging other young planners across Scotland.”


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