This month’s Spotlights has been prepared by our intern Ross, who has a passion for both planning and football, evidenced by some of his selected items below. For more on which and more, read on!

On Holyrood

Scotland’s latest transport delivery plan – we often refer to the importance of the link between land use planning and transport planning and, with that in mind, it is of note that the Scottish Government has published its National Transport Strategy Delivery Plan (2022-2023) this month. The aim of this Plan is to create a transport system in Scotland which will be sustainable, inclusive, safe, and accessible. The four priorities of the Plan are reducing inequalities, tackling climate action, helping deliver inclusive economic growth, and improving health and wellbeing. With the National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) being released this year, the Scottish Government is hoping to utilise this document, along with incoming NPF4 to “make progress on embedding the Sustainable Travel and Investment Hierarchies into their plans and decision making”. Something we would definitely support.

On local government

Aberdeen City Council guidance on listed high rises – in our January 2022 Spotlights, we commented on 5 1960s multi-story flats in Aberdeen having been awarded category A listed status for their architectural and historical merit and the potential implications of this, with their listed status meaning that any works to these may require planning permission. In response, the Council has adopted “A Guide to Planning Consents for the Aberdeen Inner-City Multis” as non-statutory planning advice, with this putting a Red, Amber, Green system in place to help give guidance to residents who are unsure whether any work they want to undertake will require planning permission. The guidance should hopefully help avoid any confusion!

Leith Links Masterplan – this month, a six-week public consultation period has been launched for the Leith Links Masterplan. Work on the Masterplan commenced late last year and is being carried out by the City of Edinburgh Council’s Thriving Green Space Project. The Masterplan includes proposals for park furniture and new plantings, as well as a range of other activities and improved public spaces. The aim of the consultation is to gain an insight and feedback from people in the Leith community, and beyond, on what they would like Leith Links to look like in the future and how its potential and popularity can be further capitalised on. Having grown up playing football on Leith Links, it will be great to see if these improvements come to fruition, capitalising on the great sense of community and quality space already there.

Nuart Festival – our latest blog focused on the role of public art in place making, inspired by the return of the Nuart Festival to Aberdeen between the 9th and 12th of June. After two years away due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the street art festival returned and was a massive success, aiding in improving the city centre. Thousands visited to see sometimes mundane buildings and public spaces turned into places sprawling with innovative and thought-provoking art. The festival is one of a number of initiatives seeking to attract, sustain and boost investment in Aberdeen’s city centre, and plays an important role in terms of improving public spaces, as well as bringing in tourists to the area. More details, and a map of all the artwork can be found here, and if you live in, or are visiting, Aberdeen, the sites are well worth a visit.

Proposed Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan – almost exactly a year after commencing, Examination of the Proposed Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan has concluded, with the Examination Report and recommendations arising from that available here. Aberdeenshire Council is required to accept the recommendations, and can only not do so for certain specified reasons, with the expectation being that the Proposed Plan will then be adopted in late October this year. Meantime, the Council has confirmed that the Proposed Plan, as modified by the Examination Report, will now be a significant material consideration in assessing planning applications, which could potentially change the way some applications are determined even before the Plan is adopted. If you have are any queries about the implications of this, or the outcome of the Examination process more generally, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

On planning applications

Dundee Football Club football stadium – in the world of planning in football, Dundee Football Club has submitted a proposal of application notice this month for their new 15,000-seater stadium, as well as surrounding developments including a hotel, restaurants, over 200 homes, new state of the art training facilities and, surprisingly, a crematorium! The proposed site is located at Camperdown Park to the northwest of Dundee, a significant move from their current home in the centre of the city. It will be interesting to see how this proposed move away from the city centre (and from their next-door neighbours Dundee United) will be received by fans and locals alike, as well as seeing what Dundee City Council thinks about these plans and if they will be supported and can therefore be moved forward.

Aberdeen Football Club football stadium – also on the theme of football stadiums, an update on progress with the Beach Masterplan has been provided for consideration by Aberdeen City Council this week, including an update on the potential development of a new beachfront stadium for Aberdeen Football Club as part of that (a move which has overwhelming support from fans). Whilst not yet a planning application, this confirms that there has been continued engagement with the Football Club since February this year to assess the relationship and synergies between the potential stadium and wider beachfront development, with an outline business case to be considered by Council Committee(s) within the next six months. We will therefore look out for further updates on this in due course and, hopefully, to a planning application being submitted in the future.

On the Royal Town Planning Institute

RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence – the inaugural RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence Scotland 2022 took place on Thursday the 16th of June and, with our Director Maggie having been a judge for the Awards, we were delighted to be invited and participate in a great night, celebrating the best of planning in Scotland. The overall winner was the Fraserburgh Conservation Area Renewal Scheme Townscape Heritage Project, an innovative, heritage led regeneration scheme which demonstrates that built heritage does not need to be a constraint, but rather can be a catalyst for economic development, and that patience and collaboration can definitely pay off.  We would like to send our heartfelt congratulations to all the worthy winners, as well as those who were nominated and shortlisted, details of which can be found here. It was inspiring to meet all these successful planners and the incredible work they do, and hopefully one day it will maybe be me up there receiving an award!

RTPI Chief Planners of Tomorrow Initiative – of particular interest to us in promoting planning as a great career, the RTPI has, this month, reopened its applications for young planners to apply for the Chief Planners of Tomorrow programme. The initiative, originally launched in 2017, aims to give young planners the chance to fill in the shoes of a Chief Planning Officer, gaining insight and getting invaluable experience as to what it takes to work at a senior level in local government. The initiative is UK wide, with over 20 local planning authorities taking part and is certainly an interesting way to gain experience and further your career. So, if you know any young planners who might be interested then, to learn more, and apply, follow this link.

On us

As well as celebrating the expansion of our team to include Ross this month, we have been celebrating Aurora Planning now being 5 years old!  And what a 5 years it has been, with many thanks to all who have worked with and supported us along the way!!

Thanks are also due to Ross for preparing this month’s Spotlights, following which he is now working on a blog for us to issue next month, so watch this space for that …

And, if we can help with any aspect of the planning process, please visit our website or email us at  If you would like to see our other blogs or sign up for email bulletins, please sign up here.

Thanks for reading!

Ross McFarlane


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