Unauthorised development cases published online

Aberdeenshire councillor Paul Johnston
Aberdeenshire councillor Paul Johnston

Two Aberdeenshire councillors are anticipating improved transparency for the public in cases of unauthorised development activity.

Councillor Paul Johnston has persuaded planning officials to publish online the register of what planning enforcement the local authority has taken following complaints from the public.

The public need to know what the council found and what action is intended

Cllr Paul Johnston Mid Formartine

After a four-year effort, the Democratic Independent and Green group leader says senior officials have now agreed to his suggestions that the required information should be published on the council website.

Councillor Johnston added that many other local authorities have long had this readily available to the public but Aberdeenshire has only made it available to view in a limited number of its offices.

He says the new online register will be published shortly following assurances from the council’s head of planning.

Councillor Johnston said: “I think it’s important that people can see that a complaint has been received and if it is being investigated.

“Following investigation, the public need to know what the council found and what action is intended.

“I first raised this four and a half years ago and welcome the move to publish within the next month.”

Green councillor Martin Ford has also pressed for an online planning enforcement register, more recently at a meeting of the Garioch Area Committee.

He said: “Councillors have to refer complaints and complainants about possible unauthorised development to planning officers.

“So it is particularly important that local people can easily find out whether the council has already received a complaint, if it is investigating, and what action officers have decided upon.”