A north-east council admits the effects of Brexit are an “unknown quantity” as it drafts the next version of its planning blueprint.
Aberdeenshire Council is in the middle of producing a new Local Development Plan (LDP), a statutory Government document which helps guide officers and councillors when granting planning permission in the area.
The LDP sets out the local authority’s vision for development in the future and is currently consulting with groups, residents and organisations about the main issues.
Each area committee at Aberdeenshire Council is tasked with agreeing outcomes – including potential housing sites.
The document, prepared after initial discussions with communities and councillors, outlines what needs to change from the current 2017 LDP, and sets out preferred options alongside reasonable alternatives.
However, in a report due to be discussed by members of the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee, a number of concerns have been raised by residents regarding how the new LDP will be affected by Brexit.
The report says residents fear there are “no positives for Aberdeenshire regarding Brexit” and worry it will slow the economy and reduce the number of developments.
In response, the local authority said: “The outcomes of Brexit are currently unknown and the council will be in a better position to judge its impacts, and plan for Brexit as it is implemented.
“This is currently an unknown quantity.”
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A spokeswoman for Stonehaven Tourism Committee said: “No one can really predict what will happen.
“Obviously if the result of Brexit is that it makes travel to the UK from the EU more difficult and costly then, of course, that has the potential to damage our tourism industry.
“By working together, as we have done for the Stunning Stonehaven website, we are hopeful we have put some building blocks in place to support our town. Whether they hold or not, time will tell.”
Planning officials say the opening of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) and the A90 Fast Link have boosted Stonehaven’s prospects as a location for developers.
The council has also been challenged to deal with its contribution to climate change and a plan should be put in place for renewable energy.
The local authority is due to publish its proposed LDP in December, which will then be examined by Scottish ministers.
It is expected the next LDP could be adopted in 2021.