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Major planning consultation underway

17th November 2017

The time is now for anyone wanting to get involved in helping shape the next Local Development Plan (LDP) for the Cairngorms National Park – the UK’s largest National Park and home to around 19,000 people.

The Cairngorms National Park LDP is the starting point in making any planning decisions – it sets out how places should change or stay the same and the best location for new homes, businesses, public services and so on. It is used by the Cairngorms National Park Authority and by the five local authorities covering the Park.

Starting today (Friday 17th November) for a period 15 weeks, the consultation on the Main Issues Report sets out the Park Authority’s ideas for how things should look in the future – and it is at this crucial stage that people should get involved and make their views known to CNPA. All this information will then be considered by officers in preparing a draft LDP.

Gavin Miles, Head of Planning and Communities at the CNPA explained: “The Local Development Plan has to be updated every five years to ensure that it’s fit for purpose. We want to know why, how or where your community should change – or indeed, stay the same. We are asking how you would like your community and the wider Cairngorms National Park to look in the future. Do you think we need more affordable housing in a particular area? What areas need protection? Does your community need suitable premises for business start-ups? If so – you must tell us.”

The process of producing a new LDP starts with the Main Issues Report and although it is expected that many of the sites and policies of the current Plan will be carried forward, there are some significant changes proposed.

Gavin added: “Probably one of the biggest changes is to our affordable housing policy where we are proposing to increase the number of affordable homes in developments from 25 per cent to up to 45 per cent in areas where there is greatest need. This flexible approach should help deliver affordable housing where it is needed the most.”

The Main Issues Report sets out several key questions for respondents to consider. Among those are:

  • How and where should development happen in future?
  • How can we capitalise on road and rail improvements?
  • How many new homes do we need and where should they go?
  • How do we protect the Park’s unique environment alongside development?
  • How do we provide essential facilities alongside development?
  • How do we protect and prepare for future events?

Each community in the Park also has its own section in the Main Issues Report, setting out areas that could be considered for development in the future or site specific uses.

Eleanor Mackintosh, Convener of the CNPA Planning Committee said: “The decisions we make at Planning Committee are based on the policies in the Cairngorms National Park Local Plan so if people don’t like something, they have to tell us, and this is the crucial stage to get involved, while the Main Issues Report is out for consultation.”

To get to this stage of the process the CNPA has already had discussions with its Board, informal consultations with community councils and associations in the Park, as well as having undergone the ‘Call for Sites & Ideas’ process earlier this year. Following the Main Issues Report consultation, the views gathered will help inform the preparation of the Proposed Cairngorms National Park Local Development Plan 2020. It is expected that this will be published for public comment in September 2018.

For more information or to take part in the consultation on the MIR please go to the relevant pages on the CNPA website.  All the documents are available online or hard copies can be viewed at the CNPA’s offices in Grantown and Ballater as well as libraries within the Park. People can keep up to date with progress on the new Local Development Plan on Twitter and Facebook via @cairngormsnews or #BigParkBigQuestions.

The consultation starts on Friday 17th November and closes on Friday 2nd March 2018.