What are your views on Aberdeenshire’s public open spaces?

By bellmannews / June 9, 2024
playpark climbing frame

From Aberdeenshire Council communications team –

We all know public open space is good for us – whether it’s a sense of place around where we live or a place to take the kids on a Sunday afternoon to kick a ball around. 

It might be a place to undertake vigorous exercise, a place where children can play as explorers and treasure hunters, or simply a place to meet, sit or walk and enjoy the tranquility and natural beauty of Aberdeenshire.

Our local open spaces are important for everyone.

As part of the production of the next Local Development Plan, which identifies new land for housing, Aberdeenshire Council wants to know what people think of their existing local parks and playgrounds.

Over the past 12 months, an audit of open space within towns and villages across Aberdeenshire was undertaken, and the council now wants to hear the views of people who live near these places as to whether the conclusions of the audit are accurate.

Now Aberdeenshire Council is making all the information collected through the audit available for public comment with maps being developed highlighting the types and quality of both open space and play areas across the region.

An online consultation is now live which asks people to reflect on what the Local Development Plan team has found, and an online map will allow residents to view the data collected to-date. It will close on Friday, July 26.

Over the next eight weeks people can express their views on the collected information through the Engage Aberdeenshire LDP consultation hub where people can express their views and identify what they would like to see in terms of future provision.

The questionnaire and the documents are available at https://engage.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/ldp-evidence-report-play-recreation-and-sport

Project lead, council policy planner Alison Hogge, explains: “Open space provides an important function in our urban areas and it’s vital that we know whether the open space that we currently have is still fit for purpose or whether – given the challenges of climate change and impact on biodiversity – they are still meeting modern needs and demands.

“Since the last audit in 2008, Aberdeenshire has seen significant built development and it’s now an appropriate time to for us to re-evaluate open space to ensure that we can plan for needs in the future.”

The Local Development Plan team has used a template provided by the Scottish Government to undertake the audit which identifies all play areas and open space over or around the size of three tennis courts. Officers have assessed them to understand the quantity and quality of the different open space types and whether they are accessible to all within the community.

Assessing the ‘play sufficiency’ in our towns and villages has also been an important task, and the council has identified, evaluated and assessed opportunities for play. 

Paul Macari, Head of Planning and Economy, added: “A key part of that process has been finding out what young people think of current provision and getting their views on what open space Aberdeenshire Council will need to provide in the future. We’ve engaged with all our schools together with parent councils so we could also ask parents and carers to capture the views on the needs of younger children.”