Council sets out four-year development plan

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A four-year plan for the development of the next version of a key planning guidance document for Aberdeenshire has been considered by councillors.

Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee was to approve and publish the 2013 Development Plan Scheme at its meeting in Woodhill House, Aberdeen, on Thursday.

The new development plan will set a framework for development of land in Aberdeenshire for the period from 2016 to 2021 and beyond

Although the current Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan was only adopted in July 2012, planning officers have noted that the production of a development plan is a long process, with three stages of formal consultation to inform the final product.

As such, the proposed programme of activities includes a period of informal engagement with community and stakeholder groups to result in a ‘Main Issues Report’ in October 2013.

This document will set out 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 changes to land allocated for development.

Formal engagement on these options would take place late this year and lead to the production of a ‘proposed Local Development Plan’ scheduled for October 2014.

This would represent the settled view of Aberdeenshire Council where development should take place in the period beyond 2015, and the policies which should govern applications for planning permission.

Finally, a public examination will take place, led by the Scottish Government, to scrutinise objections to the proposed plan. The lead up to and conclusion of the examination is estimated to take approximately 18 months.

The proposed scheme outlines the importance of detailed engagement with all with an interest in the plan.

The document states: “We believe that it is very important to engage with all stakeholders early in developing the new Local Development Plan and in 2013 we will be engaging with stakeholders on the issues that they wish to see addressed, and with developers on identifying new sites needed for development.

“However the focus for engagement will be on those elements of the current Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan 2012 and its associated Supplementary Guidance that are required to change.”

The report considered by councillors, plus the proposed scheme, can be found at www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/committees as part of the Infrastructure Services Committee agenda.