>> 11 January 2009

Commenting on the consultation process for the new Local Plan, SNP Council Group Spokesman for Planning & Economic Development, Cllr Rob Merson said:

"The Local Plan drawn up by the previous Lib Dem administration has been one which has been a constant source of public dissent. It is one which has repeatedly forced councillors to vote against their better judgement where perfectly sensible applications have not complied with some aspect of the guidelines imposed.

"That desire becomes absolutely imperative in the light of the intention to modernise the planning process, which will see the power to reject applications delegated to planning officers rather than elected members, and the right to lodge a Ministerial appeal withdrawn in favour of Local Review Boards.

"It is therefore extremely important that we produce a Local Plan which meets with the requirements and aspirations of North east Scotland in the 21st century - and full public consultation is an essential element of that."

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