We can’t believe we’re half-way through 2019 already, meaning that this month we celebrated our second birthday! Our thanks to everyone who has worked with us since we started out in 2017, we couldn’t have come this far without you – it’s been a great two years, and we’re very much looking forward to what the years ahead bring. Focusing on the present for now though, here’s our selection of planning highlights for this month.

On Holyrood

The Planning (Scotland) Bill – the big news this month is of course that, after extensive debate and even more extensive amendments, the Planning (Scotland) Bill was passed by Parliament on 20 June. The hard work isn’t yet over though, as there is now the no small task of drafting the secondary legislation required to accompany the Bill, not to mention the new National Planning Framework…. And meantime, there’s still the question of whether the Bill actually achieves what it sought to in terms of streamlining planning and empowering communities. On which, look out for a blog coming soon.

On local government

Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan 2 – The Highland Council has announced a call for sites for the next Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan, inviting communities, landowners and other stakeholders to put forward their ideas and priorities for the future of the area. At the same time, The Council is also running a call for Core Paths, seeking people’s views on the Core Path network, including proposals for new or improved paths. Consultation runs until 29 July 2019 and, if you’re interested in responding to this, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch to see how we might be able to help.

On planning applications

Ratho surf park – in a first of its kind, planning permission has been granted to create an artificial surf park at Craigpark Quarry near Ratho, with the facility expected to open in 2021. This will use an underwater wave machine to create waves of up to two metres high, as well as significantly smaller ones for the less experienced and beginners, catering for all levels of surfers. One that we might have to visit when it opens….

On competitions

FutureTown Design Competition 2019 – Scotland’s Towns Partnership has this month launched its 5th annual design competition, inviting people to submit innovative ideas for positive change in their town or city neighbourhood. It is hoped that this will get people thinking outside the box about potential opportunities, whether that be the redevelopment of existing buildings, new uses for technologies, creative uses of empty spaces, or anything else that entrants might be inspired to look at – time for us all to get thinking about how we could make the places around us better! Entries are open until 31 October 2019 and more information is available here.

On us

As well as birthday cake, a highlight for us this month was being invited by our neighbours Michael Gilmour Associates on a trip to the Macallan Distillery to consider the architecture of the new building that was opened for visitors just last year (and perhaps also have a wee whisky afterwards). Set low in the landscape, this is described as taking its cues from ancient earthworks, and is a great of example of how built development can make a powerful statement while also having a low landscape impact. Well worth a visit. And yes, the whisky is pretty good too!

To find out how we can help with any aspect of the planning process, please visit our website or email us at info@auroraplanning.co.uk. If you would like to keep up to date with our blogs and bulletins, sign up using the form below.

Thanks for reading!

Pippa and Maggie

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