When a consultation means nothing

Yesterday, the consultation period for Aberdeen City's new Local Development Plan finished and I know that lots of people, concerned about proposed developments to fill in Union Terrace Gardens, force a new road through Berryden and Tillydrone to connect to a 3rd Don Crossing and build 1500 houses and a Stadium at Loirston Loch will have made representations.  I just hope that City councillors treat their efforts with more respect than I saw today at Aberdeenshire's Formartine Area Committee.

Now under the new planning regime, the Council can't itself make changes to the Plan at this late stage.  But it is open to the Council to indicate to the Reporter which suggested modifications it really dislikes (and why), which it could live with if necessary and which it really doesn't mind at all.  If the Reporter then finds that changes are necessary, consequential changes can then be in accordance with the Councils wishes.  Without this "red, amber, green" signposting, the Reporter just has to assume that the Council doesn't care.

Now it was clear that at least three of the four Ellon councillors, including me, were relaxed about letting the proposed development at Foveran happen earlier.   The argument made in the representations was that the larger development was needed to build the necessary infrastructure, especially sewerage.   So we will now find that this development which is modest in total scale and therefore might actually be deliverable in the current economic climate, will be delayed until the larger project is permitted.  Crazy.

For information, the majority of my colleagues voted to "Instruct officers to defend the proposed plan against all other unresolved objections at the forthcoming examination".

I, seconded by my colleague Paul Johnston wanted to recognise that the proposed plan was the settled will of the council but ask officers to note the following comments in framing the Council's response to the representations.  We were, of course, defeated.

We wished to have comments in regard to Foveran, Oldmeldrum, Tarves, Balmedie West and Blackdog noted.  (PJ - have I missed anything?)