Aberdeenshire Council has debated and approved new planning policies for inclusion in its proposed new local development plan (LDP).
The policies in the Local Plan had been developed through a lengthy process of public consultation, consideration by Area Committees but were then redrafted to comply with revised Scottish Government planning policy, published in June 2014 and later guidance.
Former Aberdeenshire councillor Debra Storr, now planning consultant and member of the Scottish Green Party’s policy committee, said: “It is remarkable how very slim local plans have become. While concise policy is helpful to everyone, this Local Development Plan departs from the national polices on only two issues: a more cautious approach to flood risks and, in response to our very high property prices, a significant requirement for affordable housing contributions from larger developments. While these two departures from national policy are appropriate, local plans should reflect local circumstances and priorities and I very concerned at the trend for councils to merely follow national planning policy. This centralising approach is entirely contrary to Green principles which focus on local responses to local circumstances.”
During the debate on the proposed new planning policies at last Thursday’s Aberdeenshire full council meeting, councillors Paul Johnston and Martin Ford suggested specific amendments designed to improve the new Local Development Plan.
The proposed amendments related to:
- Policy P1 Layout siting and design
- Policy P2 Open space and access in new development and the Glossary regarding the definition of Open Space
- Policy P5 Community facilities
- C2 Renewable Energy
H5 Gypsies and Travellers
The Council rejected these attempts to tailor policies to local circumstances.
Commenting Green Councillor Ford said “It seems councils are under pressure to conform to centrally set policies and Aberdeenshire Council is willing to allow this to happen. The two local polices on flood risk and to increase availability of affordable housing are of course very welcome and appropriate. But the refusal to discuss tailoring others polices to local needs is short-sighted.”