Aurora Spotlights - February 2018
This is the first of our ‘Aurora Spotlights’ bulletins, in which we shine a light on some of the key planning matters in Scotland each month, including new legislation or guidance, consultations, significant current planning applications and recent appeal decisions, and upcoming events.
Planning (Scotland) Bill: Now the call for evidence on the Planning Bill has closed, written submissions will inform the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Communities Committee’s scrutiny of the Bill. Oral evidence sessions are expected to be held towards the end of February and in to March. Further information on expected timescales is available here, and we look forward to saying more on this as the Bill progresses through Parliament. If you haven’t already seen it, our blog with our views on the Bill‘s proposals can be accessed here.
On Local Government
Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan Call for Sites: As the first stage in preparing the next Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan (LDP), Aberdeenshire Council is inviting anyone with an interest in the area to come forward with proposals for land to be allocated for housing, business or mixed-use development. And, if the proposals in the current Planning Bill go ahead, this could be a 10-year LDP, rather than a 5-year one. It’s not clear what the transitional arrangement might be, so the message is, if you have a proposal for land in the Aberdeenshire area that you would like to see realised within the next 10 years, come forwards with it now!
Moray Main Issues Report: Moray Council has produced the Main Issues Report for their next Local Development Plan (LDP), setting out what the Council considers to be the main land use issues facing Moray in the next 10-15 years. Drop in exhibitions are being held across Moray in January, February and March, with comments invited before 30 March 2018. As with the Aberdeenshire LDP, you should take this opportunity to make your views known now.
Aberdeen City and Shire Strategic Development Plan Main Issues Report: Although the Planning Bill proposes to remove Strategic Development Plans (SDP) from the planning system, while this is still working its way through Parliament, the Aberdeen City and Shire Strategic Development Planning Authority continues to have a statutory duty to produce a new SDP by March 2019. To this end, a draft Main Issues Report has been produced, and is available here, with consultation on this expected to start shortly. We will keep you informed of progress.
On planning applications
Aberdeen Football Club stadium: After the Council’s determination of Aberdeen Football Club’s planning application for a new stadium at Kinsgford was put on hold last October pending the submission of further information, the plans were approved by Aberdeen City Council at the very end of January. Objectors are now threatening judicial review, while AFC has said that they want to engage with the community to deliver facilities that they can all enjoy and benefit from. Having been a classic example of how emotive some planning matters can be, and the extent to which it can divide communities, it will be interesting to see whether an amicable outcome can be achieved.
Coul Links, Sutherland: Another planning application which is causing its share of controversy at the moment, the proposed development of a new 18 hole golf course at Coul Links in Sutherland, has again been in the news with objectors accusing the Scottish Government of compromising their impartiality through meetings with the developer. Discussions over concerns about the environmental impact that the golf course could have continue, with the submission of additional environmental information at the beginning of the month. In the meantime, the deadline for determining the application has passed, and so a decision one way or another might be expected soon.
On the courts
Rubislaw Quarry, Aberdeen: The Lands Tribunal started the year with a decision on the use of title conditions to prevent development of a site, in which they refused an application to remove such conditions from the title for Rubislaw Quarry in Aberdeen. The issues revolved around the impact on residential amenity of a new heritage centre, including the lowering of the water level in the quarry. The decision highlights the fact that it’s not just planning conditions that can regulate development, but title conditions continue to have a role in this as well. The full Rubislaw Quarry decision is available here.
One of our personal spotlights from the past month was seeing the Highlands covered in snow when we went to speak at the Impact Hub (a great co-working space in the centre of Inverness). We enjoyed meeting community representatives from across the Highlands, discussing the planning system with them and hearing about their projects and planning challenges.
On which, to find out about how we can assist you in any aspect of the planning process please visit our website, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, to check out our blogs, and to sign up for future blogs and Aurora Spotlights please click here.
Thanks for reading!
Pippa and Maggie