Frequently asked questions


Six short films have been produced on the following topics that may also be able to assist you.



Function of the Local Development Plan

Neighbour Notification

Development in the Countryside

Natural Heritage Protection

Historic Environment Protection

Developers’ Obligations


A glossary of terminology used in the proposed Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan can be view here


You can also keep up-to-date by following the Planning Policy team on twitter @ShireLDP.

What is a local development plan?

  • It is a document that sets out the council’s detailed policies and proposals for the development and use of land.  It covers the whole of Aberdeenshire except the area included within the Cairngorms National Park, which has its own local development plan.
  • The local development plan is prepared by the council’s Planning Policy team and is reviewed every five years or within two years of the approval of the Aberdeenshire City and Shire Strategic Development Plan.

What is the difference between a strategic development plan and a local development plan?

  • A local development plan sets out in detail where development should and shouldn’t occur. It is more focused than a strategic development plan, which covers a wider area and plays a key role in broadly guiding development over the next 25 years. A strategic development plan is prepared by a Strategic Development Planning Authority (SDPA). In the north-east this is a partnership between Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils. The Aberdeenshire City and Shire Strategic Development Plan can be viewed here []

What does the local development plan do?

  • It sets out a vision for future development in Aberdeenshire. It includes policies to protect land (e.g. nature conservation sites and historic buildings), and where land should and shouldn’t be developed. For a number of policies it is necessary to provide further information or maps in supplementary guidance.  Planning Advice has also been produced, which sets best practice guidance on how to meet the requirements of the local development plan and its associated supplementary guidance

What is supplementary guidance?

  • These documents form part of the local development plan and sets out details of how the policies or proposals should be put into practice.  Supplementary guidance has been produced for affordable housing, regeneration priority area, Energetica, the coastal zone, local nature conservation sites, minerals and calculation developer obligation

Why do we have a Local Development Plan?

Who is the local development plan for?

  • Although the local development plan mostly applies to applicants seeking planning permission, it is for everyone. From developers and stakeholders to communities and home owners; whether they are proposing a development or could be affected by it.

Why are you already reviewing the Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan 2012?

  • Review of the local development plan is a continuous process. Every year a Development Plan Scheme is produced that sets out our programme for preparing and reviewing development plans and our proposals for engagement. A new local development plan must be reviewed and adopted every five years or within two years of the approval of the Aberdeenshire City and Shire Strategic Development Plan (
  • Experience from preparing the 2012 Plan has shown it takes 4 years to a review a local development plan.  For this reason, we generally start the review process one year after the plan’s adoption.  This ensures we review the local development plan within the 5 year timescale.
  • In year 1, we invite sites to be nominated for development (commonly known as the bids process). These are generally for housing and business use.  We also liaise with stakeholders and review the policies and proposals in the plan to check whether there have been changes in national legislation and on economic, social and environmental issues.
  • In year 2, we use the information collected to produce and publish for comment a Main Issues Report and a Monitoring Statement.
  • In year 3, after the consultation on the Main Issues Report we review the comments received and publish for comment the Proposed Local Development Plan. 
  • In year 4, where there are unresolved representations made on the proposed local development plan, an Examination is held.  This could last from three to nine months. Once any changes have been made in light of Examination and the Scottish Ministers have agreed the plan it will then become the adopted local development plan for Aberdeenshire.

Where can I view the Plan?

What is the Online Local Development Plan?

  • This is an interactive electronic version of the local development plan.  You can use the map function or text function to navigate round the plan.
  • When using the text function, the icon marked ‘Related links’ on some pages links you directly to another policy or map related to that page (e.g. Shaping Buchan chapter links you to the map of Buchan).

Neighbour notification – why and what is the process

  • It is a legal requirement to notify owners / occupiers / lessees of sites which the Proposed Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan specifically proposes to be developed and that would have a significant effect on the use and amenity of the site. In this case, we have sent notices to those adjacent to an opportunity site for housing, business use or safeguarded for employment land.

When is the next opportunity to make a bids for my land to be included in the plan?

  • The bids process is when we invite sites, commonly housing and business uses, to be nominated in the next local development plan. This is not announced until after the adoption of the local development plan. The next ‘bids process’ is likely to be in 2017.

What are Developer obligations?

  • These are contributions obliged to be made by developers to provide, or help provide, new infrastructure, facilities or amenities, or to supplement existing provision, where these are required as a consequence of the development being proposed, on its own, or as a result of more than development in the area.
  • Obligations are frequently subject to a legal agreement between the developer and the Aberdeenshire Council.




Help us improve