Local Planning? Let's not bother.

Aberdeenshire Council has debated and approved new planning policies for inclusion in its proposed new local development plan (LDP). The policies in the Local Plan had been developed through a lengthy process of public consultation, consideration by Area Committees but were then redrafted to comply with revised Scottish Government planning policy, published in June 2014, and later guidance.

Planning documents used to be weight tomes - an inch or more thick A4 document - and then more documents with details of conservation areas etc. 

It looks like the Proposed Local Plan will be about 50 pages long, with another 10 pages showing detail of green belt boundaries and another couple of dozen pages with details of phasing of house allocations and details of conservation area limitations.
It is remarkable how very slim local plans have become.
While concise policy is helpful to everyone, this Local Development Plan departs from the national polices on only two issues:
  • a more cautious approach to flood risks and, in response to our very high property prices, and
  • a significant requirement for affordable housing contributions from larger developments.  
That's great forward planning for flooding and might stop some of the mistakes of the past and we certainly need more affordable housing in the very expensive Aberdeen Housing Market Area.
But I worried that with just these two variants, this local plans isn;t fully reflecting all our local circumstances and priorities.

If this trend to merely echoing national policy continues, then perhaps planning will go the way of police and fire with everything controlled from the centre.

This centralising approach is entirely contrary to Green principles which focus on local responses to local circumstances.   Beware! 

No thought for cyclists

Shortly, to the north of Aberdeen, there will be oodles of money spend dualling the A90 from Balmedie to Tipperty and starting to build the AWPR.   

You'd like to thing that those in charge as well as thinking about motorists would spare a thought for other road users.  Everyone knows that designing things right int he first place is cheaper than retrofitting later. 

It can be done - look at the path coming off the away from the
feeder lanes.  So build in.  So hard - and expesive to retrofit.
But no.  The new A90 junctions at Balmedie and Blackdog will be grade seperated junctions - like motorway jucntions, designed for motorised vehicle to accelerate into the flow of traffic and decelerate only as they start to turn left.    Great for fast moving traffic. 

But lethal for cyclists.

There are cyclists who regularly use the A90.  Their needs have simply not been included in the design process.

Transport Scotland point to NESTRANS who point to the Councils.

I've news for them - safety of all road users is the responsibility of all of them.
Let's hope they don't learn the hard way.

More details at
http://aberdeengreens.org.uk/news/campaigners-angered-by-lack-of-thought-for-cyclists and
http://aberdeengreens.org.uk/news/green-campaigners-highlight-need-for-cycling-investment and even - the Aberdeen Evening Express - http://www.eveningexpress.co.uk/news/local/call-to-consider-cyclists-in-aberdeen-to-tipperty-a90-upgrade-plans-1.814916