Architects have criticised planning guidelines drawn up for a massive energy scheme, which is expected to radically transform the north-east economy.
The multimillion-pound Energetica project, which is aimed at creating a corridor of new businesses between Aberdeen and Peterhead, is expected to have a major impact on the local economy.
Project leaders Aberdeen City and Shire Economic Future (Acsef) say it could attract £750million of investment in its first 10 years.
Now an eight-week consultation on the scheme has been completed and a report will go before councillors in Buchan next week. The exercise was carried out by Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire Councils and Scottish Enterprise. Nearly 30 businesses, organisations and community councils voiced their views on the scheme’s delivery plan, which was detailed in a trio of documents – overview, supplementary guidance, and planning advice.
Around 180 comments from the 26 participating bodies were made during the consultation. The three documents will then be revised and modified using their feedback.
The 72-page planning advice report has been criticised for not being clear enough.
Architect firms Knight Frank, Halliday Fraser Munro and Baxter Design, with waste firm Sita UK, all said the document was not usable, understandable or even helpful.
There were also concerns that the new guidelines would create a new “layer of policy” which could discourage developers from setting up shop in the corridor.
However, in a report to the council, Ascef responds that the advice is “not policy” and “only provides information on how the supplementary guidance criteria can be interpreted”.
Developers have agreed to clarify the paper and include more illustrations to make their points clearer.
Elsewhere, the bird charity the RSPB has called on developers to explain how existing environmental and biodiversity schemes could be protected or enhanced as part of the project.
There were also calls for the corridor to be extended along the Buchan coast to Fraserburgh. A report on the consultation will be brought before members of the Buchan area committee on Tuesday for their comments.
The scheme will be discussed by the local authority’s infrastructure services committee at a later date.