Orkney Islands Council
Working together for a better Orkney

Development and Marine Planning

The main funciton of the Development Planning team is to review and produce a Local Development Plan for Orkney.  The Local Plan is reviewed every 5 years and the current review is underway, with the intention of publishing the new plan in 2016.

  • See the link under the 'Related Links' section for more information on the current Orkney Local Development Plan.

To compliment the above, the team have a wide range of expertise which is channelled into various initiatives from Conservation, Outdoor Access, Archaeology and Biodiversity to Regeneration, Development Briefs and Housing Design.

Please see below for in an insight into the team and their particular areas of expertise:

Stuart West - Planning Manager

Stuart is the manager of the Development & Marine Planning function within the Council. In addition to overseeing the workloads of staff, and ensuring that policies and guidance are produced in accordance with national legislation, policy and best-practice advice, Stuart provides supervisory input on conservation and heritage related issues, produces certain supplementary guidance documents and oversees the cyclical production and review of the Orkney Local Development Plan.

Contact Stuart by email.

Susan Shearer - Senior Planner

Susan joined Orkney Islands Council in 2003 as a member of the Development Management team.  After 5 years, she moved into her Development Planning role (previously Forward Planning) as a Senior Planner. Susan is the lead on the review and the production of the new Local Development Plan. 

  • Track the progress of the review by clicking on the 'Orkney Local Development Plan - Review' link under the 'Related Links' section of this page.

Contact Susan by email.

Michael Harvey - Policy Planner

Michael joined the team in 2009. With a background in architectural practice and urban design, Michael advises the team on design matters as well as working on Development Briefs and Masterplans to feed into the Local Development Plan process. 

  • To view the Masterplans and Development Briefs published by the team, please click on 'Development Briefs and Masterplans' under the 'Related Links' section on this page.

Contact Michael by email.

Eileen Summers - Environmental Officer (Policy)

Eileen is the Council’s Environmental Policy Officer. Much of her work involves the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of plans, programmes and strategies as this is a requirement under the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005.

As a public body, the Council has a duty under the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 to “further the conservation of biodiversity” in carrying out its functions. The conservation of biodiversity is part of Eileen’s remit and she also helps prepare and implement the Orkney Local Biodiversity Action Plan.

Contact Eileen by email.

James Green - Senior Policy Planner

James is a Planner supporting the development of a marine spatial plan for Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters in partnership with Marine Scotland and Highland Council. With a background in development planning, regeneration, environmental planning and project management, James supports a broad range of policy areas including the emerging marine planning system and access. James has a wide range of professional experience working for the Halcrow Group Ltd, Plymouth City Council, the City of Edinburgh Council and the Scapa Flow Landscape Partnership.

Contact James by email.

Julie Gibson - County Archaeologist

Julie Gibson is based at Orkney College. Among her many duties is providing advice to Development Management, members of the public and supervising and providing archaeological assistance for the many archaeological excavations that happen throughout the County. The main part of her role is to maintain the Sites and Monuments Record.

Contact Julie by email or by calling 01856569341.

Sydney Gauld - Planning Technician/Orkney Wildlife Information and Records Centre

Sydney has a supportive role as technician. His role is to compile, maintain and update maps used and published by the Development Planning team. Sydney's acute attention to detail and patience is fundamental in this role.

Sydney also looks after the Orkney Wildlife Information and Records Centre (OWIARC) located in the Orkney Library Archive. The OWIARC aim is to gather together biological records and habitat data in a central place. This information is used by developers, planners and the general public. 

  • To see more about the OWIARC click on the Orkney Wildlife Information and Records Centre link under the  'Related Sites' section on this page.

Contact Sydney by email.

Ross Irvine - Rural Planner

Ross is the Council’s Rural Planner and deals with issues relating access and rights over land. A major part of this involves education and enforcement concerning the Council’s statutory duties under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. Ross is also responsible for the review of the Orkney Core Paths Plan, the management of Local Nature Reserves as well as providing advice to the Council on trees, agricultural matters and land management in general.

With a background is in rural land management, Ross was Assistant Factor on two large rural estates in central Scotland  This was followed by several years as the Land Agent and Estate Manager on an estate and dairy farm in Ireland.

Contact Ross by email.

Kay Gilmour - Assistant Planner (Policy)

Kay has taken on the role of Assistant Planner to aid the preparation and delivery of the Council's Development Plan (including Supplementary Guidance). In addition, Kay takes the lead on public consultation for all new/revised planning policy documents produced by the team.

Contact Kay by email.

Related Links