Local Government Committee issues Stage 1 response to Planning Bill
The Local Government & Communities Committee has today published its Stage 1 Report on the Planning (Scotland) Bill.
The Committee’s proposed amendments are in overwhelming support of greater and further reaching community engagement and enhancement of a community’s place within a reformed planning system. It seeks further details on how the Scottish Government will encourage more meaningful engagement approaches across the Local Development Plan (LDP) review process and recommends that communities are offered support in the preparation of Local Place Plans.
Marc Giles, Ryden Planning Partner, comments:
“The Committee is firmly of the view that there is an imbalance in the current planning system which the Bill does not address. The greatest concern to the development industry will be the continued pressure to implement an equal rights of appeal process, which may be seen as an opportunity for an anti-development campaign to delay delivery of development and particularly, essential housing proposals. A further, longstanding concern has been the proposal for an infrastructure levy where, under current proposals, funds levied can be redistributed as Scottish Ministers see fit. The Committee proposes these monies are spent locally.
The removal of Strategic Development Plans, proposed as a means of streamlining the development plan process has also been addressed by the Committee. Their removal is currently resisted on the basis that the proposed alternative approach would not contribute to a simplified or more effective planning system.
In essence, what we are seeing from the Committee is clear support for local decision making and significantly increased influence for local communities in a plan-led system, whilst raising serious questions around the future of the current system of appeal.”
The Stage 1 Report will now be reviewed by the Scottish Government. Amendments to the Bill will be reported in due course.