A north-east council’s planning department has been nominated for an award.
Aberdeenshire Council is a finalist in two categories at the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Awards for Delivering Digital Engagement During a Pandemic.
The authority is named in the Excellence in Plan Making Practice category and the Excellence in Tech within Planning Practice section for the work it did on its local development plan.
The RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence have been running for more than 40 years and celebrate exceptional examples of planning and the contribution planners make to society.
Aberdeenshire Council managed to successfully moved the consultation from a face-to-face gathering to a digital event last year.
The authority created a micro-website to show case its local development plan (LDP) for 2020 which included an interactive story map, three short films, interactive activities for young people and a live chat option.
Paul Macari, head of planning and environment at Aberdeenshire Council, said: “The most important outcome was to enhance the experience of consultees by providing and facilitating opportunities to engage in the plan-making process while at the same time continuing to deliver a new LDP for the Aberdeenshire area.
“The innovative provisions put in place resulted in publication of the Proposed LDP being delayed by only four weeks rather than potentially over a year had we waited for restrictions associated with the pandemic to ease.
“Delivering a more resilient way of working against the backdrop of a global pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital tools and innovations and Aberdeenshire Council has been very much at the forefront of promoting this new approach.
“The lessons learned from this project will inform the way in which not only the Planning Service but how the council as an organisation undertakes engagement activities in the future.”
RTPI president Wei Yang FRTPI said: “Many congratulations to all the finalists at this year’s RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence – these projects, teams and individuals showcase the very best of the planning profession from all the RTPI’s regions and nations and from countries around the world.
“For over 40 years, these prestigious awards have celebrated the exceptional work undertaken by town planners. In the middle of a global pandemic, I believe they are more relevant than ever before, recognising the incredible commitment and dedication of planners who have risen to the challenge of responding to the impacts of Covid-19 on the planning system. I wish all the finalists the very best of luck at the ceremony on April 29.”
The winners will be announced at a virtual ceremony on Evessio at 4pm on Thursday, April 29.