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Key milestone for north-east Scotland LDPs

Words: Roger Milne
Aberdeen / iStock

Development plan-making in north-east Scotland reached a significant stage this week with both Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council formally endorsing their respective latest local development plans (LDP).

The Granite City’s proposed plan includes several policy changes to encourage more tourism and cultural activities in the city – as well as residential development – and includes seven so-called city centre masterplan intervention areas.

In addition, it is changing the Union Street retail frontage policy to an active frontage policy, which would allow for a greater range of uses such as services, leisure, and food and drink if an open, public and active frontage is maintained.

The plan also features a proposed so-called energy transition zone beside the new Aberdeen South Harbour. This is designed to capitalise on Aberdeen’s expertise and location as the global energy sector shifts from fossil-based fuels to renewable energy sources like wind, tidal and solar power.

Two sites have been identified for this at St Fittick’s Park and Doonies and a new policy would allow for the development, production, assembly, storage and/or distribution of infrastructure required to support low-carbon and renewable energy-related industries.

There will now be a 12-week consultation period for the draft plan. Where objections cannot be resolved, an examination in public will be held before Scottish Government reporters. The LDP should be fully adopted by early 2022.

Meanwhile, Aberdeenshire Council is due to embark on an eight-week public consultation of its LDP, following members’ approval of the document at a full council meeting on 5 March.

The council wants to have it formally adopted by the end of 2021. It will submit its proposals to ministers for examination later this year.

The content of the plan remains largely unchanged from the existing plan, with a focus on helping develop a strong and resilient economy, promoting a high quality of life and sustainable, low-carbon places.

New housing opportunities have been identified across Aberdeenshire including sites at Banchory, Echt, Fetterangus, Fyvie, Gourdon, Inverurie, Newburgh, Pitmedden, St Combs and Turriff among others.

Development continues to be focused on the three strategic growth areas along the A90 north and south and the A96.

Following the debate, council leader Jim Gifford said: “The benefits of future development following a clear plan-led system help us tremendously in terms of providing services and scheduling transport improvements, as well as providing certainty about the future both to communities and developers.”

Image credit | iStock