Aberdeenshire launches consultation on developer obligations

planning blueprint stockThe public are being asked for their say on proposed changes to how Aberdeenshire Council calculates developer obligations.

Launched as the local authority adopted its Local Development Plan (LDP) last week, the eight-week public consultation is set to help assess the level of proportional contributions required towards developer contributions and affordable housing.

Making their recommendations on the examination of the LDP, Reporters concluded that the current developer obligations policy “remained sound”, insofar as it was clear that contributions must fairly and reasonably relate to the scale of the proposed development as needed to make the development acceptable in planning terms.

However, the Reporters considered that the policy did not fully address issues of project viability in the context of the reasonableness of the level of contribution and recommended that the potential impact of the cumulative effect of contributions on delivery was a matter that could appropriately be addressed in more detail through the supplementary guidance.

As a result, Aberdeenshire Council has amended the section titled ‘Development Viability’ on page two of the guidance to reflect the Reporters’ recommendations.

The council adopted its LDP last week after Scottish Ministers confirmed they do not require any modification to the document, paving the way for its everyday use in determining development proposals.

The adoption of the LDP marks the end of a four-year process, which has included two major consultation exercises, attracting more than 2,000 detailed responses, more than 30 committee meetings and a public examination.

In March, Aberdeenshire Council resolved to adopt the LDP and its associated supplementary guidance on April 17, subject to modifications which may have been required by Ministers.

Ministers were then given a copy of the plan and the findings of the public examination. They had the option under the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 2006 to issue a direction requiring the council to modify the Plan.

Ministers have now confirmed they do not propose to issue such a direction for the plan or associated Supplementary Guidance.

The Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan 2012 has now been replaced by the Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan 2017 and its associated supplementary guidance.

Aberdeenshire Council’s head of planning and building standards, Robert Gray, said: “This is clearly a significant document for Aberdeenshire in planning terms, effectively a blueprint for future development in the area.

“The community-based consultative approach we take to the production of the plan means that anyone with an interest can get involved and help shape the plan to meet local needs.

“This also ensures that it is as robust a framework as possible within which to make important decisions on planning matters which affect our communities and the wider area.”

Work has already started on preparatory work for the Local Development Plan 2022.

The developer obligations consultation will run until June 9. Anybody wishing to make representations to Aberdeenshire Council about this proposal can do so to LDP@aberdeenshire.gov.uk or by letter to: Planning Policy Team, Aberdeenshire Council, Woodhill House, Westburn Road, Aberdeen, AB16 5GB.

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