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Park Authority sets out Local Plan modifications in Aberdeenshire

10th May 2010

The board of the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) will debate and agree the modifications to its first Local Plan, following the Public Inquiry held last summer, when it meets in Grantown-on-Spey on Friday (14 May 2010).

The Cairngorms National Park Authority Local Plan – which will be the first for a Scottish National Park – will replace the four Local Authority plans (Highland, Aberdeenshire, Moray and Angus) currently covering the Park and has been in the making since September 2004. It was the subject of a Local Plan Inquiry in May 2009, with the Scottish Government Reporters’ recommendations received by the CNPA in December the same year.

Since then, CNPA planning staff have assessed the Reporters’ recommendations – and will advise the board on Friday which changes and recommendations they propose should be taken forward and any other necessary post inquiry modifications.

Karen Major, the CNPA’s Development Plan Manager explained: “We are still on track to achieve our original vision for the Local Plan. Most importantly the Reporters clearly recognised that the National Park is an important designation which helps us to ensure that the same high standards are applied across the entire National Park. We are also looking at a Local Plan which will ensure opportunities for development to support sustainable communities in the Park for future generations and we welcome the Reporters’ support for the CNPA’s Local Plan to go beyond – where possible – the current 25 per cent of all new housing to be affordable.”

Some of the key Local Plan advice going before the CNPA board on Friday is:

  • To retain the housing land allocation in Ballater as recommended by the Reporters despite objections but provide a clear vision for how the site should be developed.
  • Initiate a community review of the need for all types of development, including housing and economic activity, in Braemar with partner agencies, estates and community groups.

There now begins a consultation period (24 May to 2 July) to allow individuals, groups or organisations to make representations on the post inquiry modifications to the Local Plan and the Supplementary Planning Guidance. This consultation will last for six weeks and responses will be considered during July and August. If there is no requirement to hold a second inquiry the CNPA board will be asked in September to allow the Local Plan to proceed to the final stages, which will involve informing Scottish Ministers of the Intention to Adopt the Local Plan. This will happen between September and November, with the Plan hopefully being adopted and published for use by the CNPA and the four local authorities covering the Park, between December 2010 and January 2011.

Karen Major added: “We have made good progress getting to this stage but there are several issues which require further work and we welcome the additional direction from the Reporters on these issues, which will be brought forward in the process of creating the next Plan, which staff are already preparing.”

These include:

  • The requirement to provide a vision statement for each settlement in the Cairngorms National Park (work has already started on this and the information will form part of the review of the National Park Plan).
  • A review of all settlement boundaries.
  • Re-visit the options for residency criteria and give final conclusion on the matter.

Duncan Bryden, CNPA board member and planning committee convener commented: “It may seem strange to people that work is already underway developing the next Plan – which will be known as the Local Development Plan – but Plans are developed on a rolling, overlapping basis and we are in a Scotland-wide ‘change over period’ as new style plans are phased in to meet Government requirements. We will by then also have part of Perthshire joining the Park.”