Aberdeenshire Council adopted its Local Development Plan this week, the third local authority in Scotland to do so under new planning law.
Scottish Ministers have confirmed they do not require any modification to the document, paving the way for its everyday use as a planning blueprint.
This marks the end of a four-year process which has included two major consultation exercises attracting over 6,000 detailed responses, as well as more than 20 committee meetings and a public examination by Government reporters.
The Aberdeenshire Local Plan 2006 will be replaced by the Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan 2012 and its associated supplementary guidance.
There is still the possibility of a formal legal challenge in the Court of Session for a six week period following adoption.
Chairman of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee (ISC), Peter Argyle, said: “This plan is a true reflection of how the previous council worked together and with our communities to ensure that Aberdeenshire remains the best in Scotland. It represents a fitting legacy for that council and one I am sure the new council will adopt and implement, while at the same time undertaking the work necessary to extend the plan’s vision for the period beyond 2017.”
Vice chair Alan Buchan said: “I am particularly pleased with the innovation that has been shown in the way the plan has been presented, with reliance placed on more flexible supplementary guidance that can adapt as needs be to any short term challenges that may be thrown at us over the coming years. ”
At a meeting of ISC, Councillor Argyle told colleagues Scottish Ministers were happy the plan be adopted: “My pleasure in seeing the plan adopted is tinged with regret that there are some issues the previous council would have preferred to have seen changed from the Reporter’s recommendations, but because the law is clear on this matter, we were unable to challenge.
“Ministers must recognise that, at the end of the day, the development plan is a matter of local negotiation and democracy. “
He told the committee officers will be making a robust submission to the Scottish Government on the matter, and will be recommending a series of specific actions that could be undertaken to make the examination process more efficient.
The new plan introduces some significant changes in both land allocations for development and policy.
Aberdeenshire Council has already started on preparatory work for the 2017 Local Development Plan.
For more information on the Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan, please see: http://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/planning/ldp/index.asp