Aberdeenshire Council adopts Local Development Plan 2023

By bellmannews / January 16, 2023

From Aberdeenshire Council communications team –

Following final scrutiny by Scottish Ministers, and in line with a decision taken by Aberdeenshire Council on September 21 last year, the Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan 2023 has now been adopted.

This concludes a five-year process that has seen detailed engagement with stakeholders and communities about what should be included in the plan that included formal publication and consultation on a Main Issues Report in 2019 and a Proposed Local Development Plan in 2020.

Finally, an Examination into the Proposed Local Development Plan concluded in June this year with a set of conclusions and recommendations from the Scottish Government Reporter. These were considered by Aberdeenshire Council’s area committees and by the Full Council.

The Council advised the Scottish Government that it intended to adopt the finalised Local Development Plan 2022. Following extensions to their deadline, Ministers have now agreed that the plan can be adopted with one more additional change. Additional policy has been included to protect peat deposits from commercial extraction. Revisions have also been made to re-date the Local Development Plan from LDP 2022 to LDP 2023.

The Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan 2023 will direct decision-making on all land-use planning issues and planning applications across Aberdeenshire over the next five years. It will be the last Local Development Plan to be published prior to new provisions within the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 which introduces a modern style of 10-year plan.

The format 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. However, both policies, the rules that govern whether planning permission should be granted, and proposed allocations, where development proposals can take place, have been updated.

It also seeks to ensure that the exceptional cultural and natural environment across Aberdeenshire is protected and enhanced. Housing opportunities have been identified across Aberdeenshire including new development sites at Banchory, Portlethen, Kemnay, Echt, Fetterangus, Fyvie, Gourdon, Inverurie, Newburgh, Pitmedden, St Combs and Turriff, among others. The Plan also secures the delivery of much-needed, high-quality energy-efficient housing including opportunity for more than 4,000 affordable homes for which there is a recognised need for across the region.

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.

Welcoming adoption of the new plan, Cllr John Crawley, chair of the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, said: “Due to circumstances outwith our control we have had an out-of-date development plan for approximately nine months, and I am sure that the Council and our communities will welcome the confidence and surety that the new plan brings. Adoption will allow the development industry to invest in sites that we have agreed are suitable for development to provide much needed housing and employment.”

Vice-chair Cllr Isobel Davidson added: “The new plan also introduces a range of updated policies that will address the significant challenges that Aberdeenshire faces in taking on the challenges of sustainable development and climate change, protecting what is valuable to us and, promoting economic development. We estimate that over the next five years this plan will secure the delivery of around 17,000 houses, provide considerable employment opportunities and help generate around £6 billion in local economic activity.”

Head of Planning and Economy Paul Macari said: “The Local Development Plan will help 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. It provides a sharp vision for future development in Aberdeenshire. However, work on the development plan does not stop with the publication of this plan and very soon we will be setting out the programme for the preparation on the next, modern style, Local Development Plan. This will build on the success of LDP2023 and will further develop our responses to providing for the need for development in the context of the climate and biodiversity crisis.