What is the Strategic Development Plan (SDP)?
Strategic Development Plans are prepared for Scotland’s four largest city-regions: Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow. The SDP for Aberdeen City and Shire sets out priorities for the long-term development of the region, and focuses on key issues such as transport, economy, retail, housing and greenspace.
The Main Issues Report
The current SDP for Aberdeen City and Shire was approved in March 2014 and both councils are in the process of reviewing this Plan to ensure it is kept up to date. The Main Issues Report is the first formal stage in the review process – it describes and invites discussion on options for future policies, as well as employment and housing supply targets for the next Plan. The Report includes 12 Main Issues and 16 Questions for comment. The results of this consultation will inform the preparation of a ‘Proposed Strategic Development Plan’ which will be subject to further consultation in late 2018. The closing date for responses to this first stage is 12pm on Monday 21st May 2018.
You will find the consultation document here.
Issues of particular interest to Westhill and District include the potential growth West of Aberdeen (A93 and A944). The report states that “Westhill and Banchory continue to be attractive to the development industry. However, there are significant infrastructure challenges (particularly for transport and education) if there is to be growth. The extent of the transport challenges and the action needed will not be certain until a City Region Deal appraisal of the effect of the AWPR is completed and any necessary solutions can be identified. While opening the AWPR will have a significant effect on settlements to the West, current transport modelling suggests it is unlikely to create any room for growth. The reports goes on to say that “we therefore think it would be a very risk strategy to identify western expansion for strategic levels of growth before a realistic and deliverable solution is identified…”
Furthermore, Main Issue 3 adds that it is important that the free flow of traffic and the junction capacity of the new road (AWPR) are protected and not affected by development taking place which would have a negative effect on the road and its junctions. The preferred option would be for the next SDP to be clear about the need to avoid high footfall-generating uses near the AWPR’s junctions and to make it explicit that any development proposals should only come through the full and open development plan process.
With regards to housing, between 2011 and 2016, a total of 11,433 homes were built (2,769 fewer than the SDP requirement). Private-sector completions were 165 units more than the requirements identified in the Housing Need and Demand Assessment (2011) but delivery of affordable housing fell almost 3,000 units short of the need that was identified. Do you agree with the housing targets suggested in the Main Issues Report?
Main Issue 11 looks at Housing Land Allowances. The preferred option here allows delivery of new homes consistently at levels not seen for 20 years and provides 28% generosity on top of the housing supply target. Without this extra level of generosity, the Local Development Plans (LDPs which I mention in previous posts and which are also in the process of review) would not be able to identify any significant new housing allocations up to 2030. Do you agree that the preferred option should allow LDPs to make some further housing allocations.
Why should you become involved?
Becoming involved in the development plan preparation gives you an opportunity at the earliest possible stage to have a say in shaping the future of your community and environment. Making your opinions known at this stage can be much more effective than trying to influence decisions on planning applications later on. No setttled view on the content of the next SDP has yet been reached, making the Main Issues Report a key stage for public consultation.