Planning for the Future

planningThe future way the land around us is developed is under scrutiny as a Planning Bill is making its way through the Scottish Parliament.

The intention of the proposals in the Bill is to allow local communities more say in planning. The changes in the Planning legislation would :

  • Focus planning, and planners, on delivering the development that communities need, rather than focus on continuous writing of plans that lack a clear route to delivery
  • Empower people and communities to get more involved and to have a real influence over future development
  • Strengthen the strategic role of planning in co-ordinating and supporting the delivery of infrastructure needed to support development, including much needed housing
  • Reduce complexity, whilst improving accountability and trust in planning processes and decision-making (Planning)

Prior to the Planning Bill there was  consultation with a range of organisations, groups and Young People in ‘People Places and Planning.’

The Planning Bill is designed to simplify the planning process which it was felt had become far too complicated and a hindrance to development.The Planning legislation will apply across Scotland including island communities. It has gone through the process of Island Proofing and argues that there would be enough flexibility in the new system to allow for differences brought about by the needs of islands.

Relevant documents can be found here

Further consultation is now underway led by the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Communities Committee.

Bob Doris MSP, the Committee Convener,  said:

“The entire purpose of these proposed changes is to strengthen the planning system and boost its contribution to inclusive growth, housing and infrastructure in Scotland.

“The Bill also aims to empower people to have their say on their places more than ever before, so that communities can influence development plans in their local areas.

“Our Committee now wants to find out whether the Bill will deliver an improved planning system and if so, should any improvements and changes be made to the Bill so that Scotland can develop a world-class approach to planning its cities, towns and rural areas in the future.”

If you would like to contribute your views there are a series of issues the committee are interested in:

  1. Do you think the Bill, taken as a whole, will produce a planning system for Scotland that balances the need to secure the appropriate development with the views of communities and protection of the built and natural environment?
  2. To what extent will the proposals in the Bill result in higher levels of new house building?  If not, what changes could be made to help further increase house building?
  3. Do the proposals in Bill create a sufficiently robust structure to maintain planning at a regional level following the ending of Strategic Development Plans and, if not, what needs to be done to improve regional planning?
  4. Will the changes in the Bill to the content and process for producing Local Development Plans achieve the aims of creating plans that are focussed on delivery, complement other local authority priorities and meet the needs of developers and communities?  If not, what other changes would you like to see introduced?
  5. Would Simplified Development Zones balance the need to enable development with enough safeguards for community and environmental interests?
  6.   Does the Bill provide more effective avenues for community involvement in the development of plans and decisions that affect their area? Will the proposed Local Place Plans enable communities to influence local development plans and does the Bill ensure adequate financial and technical support for community bodies wishing to develop local place plans?  If not, what more needs to be done?
  7. Will the proposed changes to enforcement (such as increased level of fines and recovery of expenses) promote better compliance with planning control and, if not, how these could provisions be improved?
  8. Is the proposed Infrastructure Levy the best way to secure investment in new infrastructure from developers, how might it impact on levels of development?  Are there any other ways (to the proposed Levy) that could raise funds for infrastructure provision in order to provide services and amenities to support land development?  Are there lessons that can be learned from the Infrastructure Levy as it operates in England?
  9.   Do you support the requirement for local government councillors to be trained in planning matters prior to becoming involved in planning decision making?  If not, why not?
  10.  Will the proposals in the Bill aimed at monitoring and improving the performance of planning authorities help drive performance improvements?
  11. Will the changes in the Bill to enable flexibility in the fees charged by councils and the Scottish Government (such as charging for or waiving fees for some services) provide enough funding for local authority planning departments to deliver the high –performing planning system the Scottish Government wants?  If not, what needs to change?

The closing date for receipt of submissions is February 2018.

To submit your views:

Scottish Parliament

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Submissions should be limited to no more than six pages of A4. Responses should be sent, wherever possible, electronically and in MS Word format to the following email address:

Any further information or if you wish your views not to be made public, use the e:mail contact address or phone 0131 348 6037

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