In the early stages of their project, we met a local mountain biking charity, Gravitate North East (then known as NETCO), to learn about their plans to establish a new, mountain bike trail centre in Aberdeenshire. This large, long-term project required consideration of a range of economic, social and environmental factors which, ultimately, would determine the acceptability of the project in planning terms. We were asked to advise on a planning strategy, making sure that our strategy tied in with Gravitate North East’s proposed timescales for fundraising, acquiring the site and opening the proposed, new centre.
Given the review of the Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan, part of our strategy was to support this project by making a bid for the site to be allocated for the proposed centre in the next Local Development Plan, making what our clients described as an “impressive” case based on the centre’s potential to contribute to economic development, environmental enhancements and key outcomes of the Aberdeenshire Local Outcome Improvements Plan 2017 – 2027.
As a result of making that bid, the site was successfully given reserved status for the proposed centre in the Main Issues Report for the next Local Development Plan (which has been published for consultation at the time of writing). We are continuing to support Gravitate North East through the next stage of the Local Development Plan process and are looking forward to seeing this exciting project develop.