A new Planning Bill was passed in the Scottish Parliament after 3 days of debate, on Thursday 20th of June.
People will now be able to prepare local place plans covering what will be done in their communities, including over issues such as housing, open space and community facilities as well as business and employment opportunities.It will be a legal requirement for local councils to take local place plans into account when producing development plans.
Commenting Scottish Government Planning Minister Kevin Stewart said:
“Scotland’s varied places – our cities, towns, villages, countryside, coast and islands – are an integral part of our national and local identity.
“This Bill is a radical new way forward for planning in Scotland. It’s a vision that empowers communities to have a positive say in shaping their future.
“There is now more scope for local planning to influence regional and national plans, and we expect to see more collaboration where people and local authorities across Scotland work closely together for all our benefit.”
The Scottish Greens were bitterly disappointed with the Bill as passed calling it a “SNP-Tory stitch-up.” Andy Wightman MSP ,the Scottish Greens’ local government and economy spokesperson had wanted to ‘strengthen’ the Bill on:-
“measures to regulate hill tracks and short term lets, improve air quality and protect natural habitats.”
Speaking before the debate, he said:
“These are important issues that people care about and we’ll do everything we can to win support for them. But if the SNP chooses to side with Tories and their corporate and landed interests it will be a huge blow for hopes of building a fairer, more equal Scotland.”
Not all amendments fell – in fact many were passed, including one proposed by Andy Wightman which requires all planning authorities to prepare a forestry and woodland strategy.
In his closing remarks before the vote Kevin Stewart said:
“The bill includes a range of measures to give local planning authorities and local communities more powers, including the power of local authorities to propose controls on short-term lets. Rather than imposing an Edinburgh-based solution on the whole, through the bill we have ensured that communities can make their own choices in that regard.”
The Planning Bill was passed with 78 votes for (SNP and Conservatives) and 26 against (Labour, Scottish Greens and LibDems).
Reporter: Fiona Grahame