Potterton – What was missed.

The Local Plan which allocates sites takes a long time to trundle its way to adoption. The residents of Potterton’s part in it is NOT just at the end when the Council publishes a final plan for objection. Its long before that. And the actual decision is still a distance away.

The planning system starts with a document that sets out the path to adopting a plan and the individual steps. This is called the ‘Development Plan Scheme’ You can see all of them here: LINK The Council publishes one each year to update the public.

Purpose of a Development Plan Scheme

This Development Plan Scheme sets out the current programme for preparing the Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan 2021. It is designed to inform stakeholders of the programme of work that will deliver a new Local Development Plan for the Aberdeenshire Council area by the end of 2021


The Main Issues Report and Draft Proposed Local Development Plan were published on 14th January 2019 and were subject to public consultation until 8th April 2019. Nearly 1200 representations were received. This information is now historical but you can view the Main Issues Report on the archive page.

Extract from Development Plan Scheme.

From the last main issues report dealing with the progress of the new local plan, this gives the relevant dates about each stage.

The full process is laid out in a table below and the Council’s Participation statement highlighted in blue. For residents this may not be enough, but the Council appears to have followed an approved path of consultation (however disputed).

The process of completing the local plan is one that often has failed to engage the public effectively. Many people, cannot be bothered with what is legalistic text and complex processes that still seem to perpetually favour the developer.

“This is an issue that I have long sort reform when planning legislation comes up for review” said Cllr Paul Johnston. ” The problem is that we have a legal framework and the Council follows it it, flaws and all. “There is a certain irony here in that this local plan in its early stages, got a higher than normal response. Clealry that did not work as far as a sizeable portion of Potterton was concerned.

The final independent decision, other than for narrow legal purposes, is carried out by a Government appointed @reporter’. The Reporter now has all information from objectors, developers and the Council and will judge.

“Residents might make formal representations through the DPEA to the appointed reporter if they are arguing for a full hearing on the issues at Potterton. “

“It is not now a case of changing the Council’s mind but convincing the Independent Reporter that they should consider a different proposal for Potterton”

Cllr Paul Johnston

Stages of Plan Production

StageStrategic Environmental
Assessment (‘SEA’)
Proposed Date
1.Pre Main Issues
Prepare SEA Scoping
Until January 2019
2.Publish Main Issues
Report for consultation.
Publish Draft Proposed
Local Development
Plan for consultation
Publish Interim
Environmental Report for
the Strategic
From 14 January to 8 April
3.Publish (electronically)
Proposed Local
Development Plan for
Publish (electronically)
Strategic Environmental
Assessment (SEA) –
Environmental Report of
the Proposed Local
Development Plan
May to July 2020
4.Submit Proposed Local
Development Plan to
Scottish Ministers for
Publish Strategic
Assessment (SEA) –
Environmental Report of
the Proposed Local
Development Plan
consultation responses
December 2020 for
Examination from January
5.Adopt the Local
Development Plan
June to September 2021 for
adoption by 31 December
6.Publish Delivery
Prepare Strategic
Assessment (SEA) post
adoption statement
Table from the Development Pan Scheme

How to Get Involved – The Participation Statement

Who we will Consult

We have identified six main user groups of the Development Plan with whom we
would like to engage with on its production:
• Community Councils and other Community Groups are formal gatherings of
interested local parties with a key interest in the wider future of their
• Land development and building interests have a key role in ensuring that an
appropriate scale of development is delivered in appropriate places. This
group broadly comprises developers, landowners, and agents.
• Key agencies have a role to monitor and police the content of the Local
Development Plan to ensure that their interests are appropriately represented.
This group includes Government Agencies such as Scottish Natural Heritage
and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.
• Special interest groups formed to promote specific topics within
Aberdeenshire, such as Friends of the Earth, The Bailies of Bennachie, and
the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs and who will be keen to see
their specific interests protected.
• Other individuals may have a specific issue that they wish to conserve or see
developed. Consultation should be open to all within the community.
• Finally, significant engagement is required within Aberdeenshire Council, and
Transport Scotland, Scottish Water, and NHS Grampian to ensure that any
Plan is deliverable.
A database of consultees is maintained by the Planning and Environment Service
and updated regularly. Non-statutory stakeholders have the opportunity to withdraw
from receiving notifications sent regarding the progress of the Plan.
Statement of Methods to be Used
A number of consultation methods have and will continue to be used to ensure these
groups all have a voice in the preparation of the Aberdeenshire Local Development
Plan 2021.
From late 2017 and throughout 2018 and 2019 we have already undertaken the
following actions:
• Distinctive branding on the Local Development Plan documents has been
implemented to provide a clear identity.
• Pre-engagement took place with Community Councils, land development and
building interests, key agencies and special interest groups to ensure that any
issues that they have with the existing Local Development Plan are recorded,
and where possible actioned. Generally, this has been done through
stakeholder seminars where an overview of the content and the intent of the
current Plan has been presented, and options sought for improvements that
could be undertaken.

• Likewise, all Community Councils were offered a “Place Planning” seminar
with planning staff. Run with Community Planning staff, we had a very high
level of participation from the Community Councils. These sessions sought to
identify what the local issues were within a community so as to inform the
shared vision that we have for the settlement and identify those features that
should be protected or enhanced. The Place Standard Tool was used in this
engagement process.
• Engagement was undertaken with Elected Members and representatives of
Community Councils during the bid assessment process such that comments
on policies and proposals could be captured at an early stage and reflected in
the Main Issues Report.
• The Main Issues Report was published on 14 January 2019. Statutory notices
were published in the Press and Journal Newspaper giving 12 weeks for
people to give us their views.
• Copies of the Main Issues Report were made available through all public
libraries in Aberdeenshire. The Main Issues Report was also made available
online alongside a Draft Proposed Local Development Plan as a tool to aid
with interpretation of the Main Issues Report.
• A response pro-forma was placed on the website.
• We wrote to all Community Councils providing formal notice of the publication
of the Main Issues Report and advising them that the Main Issues Report
together with a Draft Proposed Local Development Plan, the response form
and all related documents were available online. Each Community Council
was offered additional visits from a Planning Officer to answer any questions
and support their submission.
• We wrote to all other stakeholders advising them that the Main Issues Report
and a Draft Proposed Plan had been published, and to invite responses.
• We developed the website to provide information on the Local Development
Plan and the process that we are using to consult upon it. The website has
been developed to promote the Main Issues Report and encourage electronic
submission of representations.
• We visited 17 community venues across the Local Development Plan area at
drop-in sessions to invite public participation by submitting comments on the
Main Issues Report.
• We undertook a Youth Engagement Pilot project which saw Planning Officers
engage with 14 primary schools and 2 secondary schools across
Aberdeenshire. This equated to approximately 450 young people. The
project was shortlisted for a Scottish Award for Quality in Planning 2019.
• All representations received were catalogued and reviewed. An ‘Issues and
Actions’ Report was produced to summarise all comments made, to establish
the issues raised, and identify if and what actions are required.
• Special Area Committee meetings were held during August and September
2019 for the purpose of presenting and discussing the Issues and Actions
concerning policies and proposals for each of the six Administrative areas.
Recommendations and comments received from the Area Committees were
subsequently reported to and considered by the Council’s Infrastructure
Services Committee in October 2019.
• The Monitoring Report has been updated.

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