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NORTH-EAST STRUCTURE PLAN APPROVED

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The North East Structure Plan covering the city of Aberdeen and the smallest rural village of Aberdeenshire has bee...
The North East Structure Plan covering the city of Aberdeen and the smallest rural village of Aberdeenshire has been approved, with modifications, by the executive.

The Plan sets out the long-term strategic vision to shape development in the north east over the next 10-15 years focusing on the integration of employment, housing and services in a hierarchy of communities. Drawn up by the two local authorities, it includes the possibility of a new football stadium to replace Aberdeen FC's ground at Pittodrie and has been subject to widespread consultation.

Modifications to the plan have been prepared to ensure that it accords with published national planning guidance. The final modifications include amendments to cover issues concerning the following:

- telecommunication interests

- housing in the countryside

- a new football stadium in the Aberdeen area

The minister said:

'Aberdeen is a city of international significance, as Europe's oil capital and a key gateway to the north east. It is, therefore, vital that future development of the city and its hinterland is set within an appropriate and strategic framework.

'These final modifications will help ensure that the structure plan allows Aberdeen to continue to drive forward the regional economy in accordance with national planning guidance and that enough land is allocated to allow the whole of the north east to accommodate significant levels of new development.

'Regarding the proposal by Aberdeen FC for a new football stadium, we considered it appropriate to maintain the executive's conditional support for a stadium as expressed at the draft modifications stage. This requires a site which meets National Planning Guidelines.

'Our support for the stadium is also conditional on a successful bid by the Scottish Football Association to host Euro 2008, which has yet to go forward. This bid must also include the new stadium by Aberdeen FC. This modification will enable the proposal to proceed on a plan-led basis.'

The decision to approve the plan is now followed by a six-week period for legal challenge. The decision letter and final modifications will be available for inspection at council offices as will the report 'Comments on Objections Not Accepted by the Scottish Ministers'.

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