Aberdeen City and Shire - Strategic Development Planning Authority

Get in touch:
Woodhill House, Westburn Road
Aberdeen, AB16 5GB
Phone: 01224 664626
Email: team@aberdeencityandshire-sdpa.gov.uk

City and Shire back 'visionary' Structure Plan for region

Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire councillors today voted overwhelmingly in favour of the region's new Finalised Structure Plan. The plan – which lays out an aspirational, 20-year vision for the City and Shire – was backed by 26 votes to 11 at a special full sitting of Aberdeen City Council and 59-3 at a simultaneous full council meeting of Aberdeenshire councillors.

The Aberdeen City and Shire Strategic Development Planning Authority (SDPA) has drawn up the plan to ensure the region maintains and enhances its attractiveness and continues to develop sustainably over the next 20 years. The document maps out a framework for the delivery of the new homes, businesses, transport infrastructure and facilities to ensure continued prosperity. It also stresses that the City and Shire must aim high – and earn a reputation for top-quality design and construction in which local people and the whole country can take pride.

Aberdeen City Council planning convener and SDPA chairman Councillor Scott Cassie said: "This is an immensely important document for the whole region. It sets out our framework for growth and will have a huge bearing on everything the two councils do over the next two decades.

"The plan lays down a clear direction of travel for the future of the region up to 2030 – and that direction is upwards. We have to make sure this area has enough people, enough new homes and enough jobs to allow us to compete and thrive.

"We have to open up opportunities for growth. And we have to have the infrastructure in place to make sure growth happens in a sustainable way.

"The plan is ambitious, aspirational and deliverable, and I am delighted that the vast majority of elected members on both councils share in its bold vision for the future."

Chairman of Aberdeenshire Council's infrastructure services committee Councillor Peter Argyle said it was one of the most significant days in the history of Aberdeenshire Council.

By approving the plan, he said, councillors expressed confidence in the economic and social future of Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City and gave definition on how to secure that future.

He commented: "The plan has clear strategies and targets for economic growth but seeks to ensure that these opportunities are not only distributed across the whole area, but also are of a scale to suit local circumstances.

"We need to prepare the ground to allow and encourage growth in a wide range of industries and business, not just oil and gas but fishing and farming, the service sector, tourism, the new prospects that will open up for developing green energy projects and technologies.

"This plan is ambitious – and it should be. It aims to deliver significant growth in our population but at the same time ensure that Aberdeenshire remains an attractive place to live and work. It defines clear and achievable targets and describes how these can be delivered and monitored."

The preparation of the plan has been characterised by widespread engagement and consultation over the last two and a half years, with over 150 changes being made to the draft plan in response to comments received.

The document will now be submitted to Scottish Ministers and placed on deposit on 27 February 2009 to allow an eight-week period for any objections to be lodged with them. The closing date is 24 April.

Ministers will consider any objections and determine whether an Examination in Public (EiP) is needed. That would require a public inquiry-style hearing in front of a planning reporter, who would hear evidence from the Strategic Development Planning Authority and objectors and then report back to Ministers identifying any necessary modifications. If no EiP is needed, Ministers will consult on any proposed modifications, consider any objections to the proposed modifications, and then approve the plan with or without changes. It is hoped that approval will take place before the end of 2009.

19 February 2009