Development plan agreed

Aberdeenshire Council has agreed a new Local Development Plan which will soon provide a planning blueprint for the area.

The decision follows an examination of objections to the proposed plan. Approval by the Full Council follows four years of work, involving extensive consultation with councillors and communities.

Following the examination, Scottish Government Reporters asked for changes to the plan, with alterations to aspirations for the communities of Newburgh and Newmachar being most significant.

The changes, for which there is little or no opportunity for the council or communities to challenge, have to be made before the plan can be formally adopted.

The council’s Director of Infrastructure Services, Stephen Archer, told councillors: “We are able to present a plan which we think as a whole reflects the aspirations of Members and the communities you represent.

“However that does not mean to say that it is a perfect plan, and it is deeply unfortunate that in some cases that imperfection has been introduced by the examination process itself.”

The council’s head of planning, Robert Gray, said: “Aberdeenshire Council was the first local authority in Scotland to take the development of a local plan forward under Scotland’s new planning laws, and this is a significant event for us.

“Although it took more than a year for the public examination to conclude, we feel the process we have gone through to get to this stage, including the extensive consultation with communities and developers, ensures we have a plan for the future which is best suited to the needs of the local area. “

Procedural steps to publish the modified plan, advertise the intention to adopt it and to send documentation to Scottish Ministers were also approved.

Before it can be formally adopted, the council must advertise its intention to do so and the plan will be published, placed in libraries and planning offices. It can also be found on the Aberdeenshire Council website.