Main Issues: Enabling Development, Protection of Nature Conservation Sites, Landscape Character, Historic Environment, Safeguarding Resources - Water, Agricultural Land, Woodland, Transport Facilities, Employment Land, Oil and Gas Sites, Mineral, Wind Farms.

A final run at this .... again, if you can get comments to me by 20th,that would be helpful.  The Formartine Area Committee will be discussing on 27th January.

Enabling Development: permited for retaining a Listed Building or (newpolicy) start-up of employment, leisure, tourism in Regeneration Priority Area
Protection of Nature Conservation Sites: These water down protection in the current plan.  The plan will include a list of designated sites at International, National and Local levels, lists of protected species under EU and British Law and Local Priority Habitats and Species, and Geological Conservation review sites.  Others are better placed than I to review these.
Landscape Character: Recognises the value of our landscapes and introduces Valued Views (list provided).
Historic Environment:  There is Supplementary Guidance for Listed Buildings, Conservation AReas, Historic Gardens and Designed Landscapes, and Archeological sites and Ancient Monuments.    The polices are good and I welcome a requirement for development in Conservation Areas to be for Full Planning Permission.
Safeguarding Resources - Water, Agricultural Land, Woodland, Transport Facilities, Employment Land, Oil and Gas Sites, Mineral, Wind Farms.  This policy covers a lot of ground!  The policy of water trys to ensure than water quality, flooding, ecology and flood plans are properly considered.  There is a presumption to retaining the best quality agricultural land.  Trees and Woodlands not covered by TPOs gain some protection as are routes that may be useful for future transport (including paths) and other transport infrastructure.  A new presumption to retaining employment land in employment use.  St Fergus is recognised as special for oil and gas development and other developments will be resisted.  Land for mineral development is safeguarded in Areas of Search (see maps) and there are also areas of search for large windfarms and landfill sites

The extension into enabling development to support almost any for of economic activity is interesting.   There is Supplementary Guidance to limit this to where the public benefit outweighs the disbenefits of breaching public policy, and limits the scale to 5 houses or fewer.   We have had problems with developers selling of parts of the development and then finding they don't after all have sufficient funds to restore a listed building and therefore coming back for more.  The "prferably to be developed in full by the developer" is therefore welcome.   I do worry that the test is too easy - of course Trump was allowed 500 houses of enabling development at Menie - a long way from the regeneration areas and that proposal would have been a different matter in an area of high unemployment.

I have to be a bit of a cynic on the Nature Conservation Sites policies: they have been badly breached and now they say that that's fine.  It's not.  

On Resources, there is a lot of ground here.  I welcome the presumption that trees and woodland should be preserved even when not coverd by TPOs - with changes to and reviews of TPOs, this is sorely needed.  And the retention of employment land as such is very important - losing employment land to residential development has been an issue and we need to ensure we have residential and employment uses in our villages.
It'll be interesting to see the map for Area of Search for Minerals -and Landfills.

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