Planning (Scotland) Act 2019

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Planning (Scotland) Act 2019

Planning (Scotland) Act 2019

Nicola Woodward 14 Aug 2019
So back in January 2018 I was bemoaning three main elements with regards to plan making under the Planning Bill as was:

  1. The loss of regional planning;

  2. The apparent centralisation of plan making - a shift toward Scottish Government and away from local authorities; and 

  3. The reduced opportunities for the development industry and public at large to be involved in plan making.

At the time there seemed to be significant consequences of the Bill as written that were at odds with the very reasons stated for the planning review in the first place.

Since then our MSPs and Scottish Government have been engaged in a Planning Bill “Hokey Cokey” with provisions “put in” and provisions “taken out” – including regional planning.

This blog deals with where we got to as a result of this merry dance and what it might mean for the development industry in terms of plan making in the future.

But first what of my 3 moans?

  1. Regional Planning is “in” but out of the Development Plan;

  2. Central Government are still preparing one of the essential documents in the Development Plan (NPF) and are still responsible for approving LDPs. Seems there has been little change from that that was contained in the Bill in January 2018 in this respect other than clarity that the Planning Authorities must provide info, as required by Scottish Government, to inform the making of the NPF; and

  3. The new Act lays it on really thick in terms of consulting with young people and gypsy and travellers, community councils, the public at large but not the development industry who will be the main users of the Plans prepared. There remains little opportunity for the development industry to get involved in the plan making process unless you force it at every stage.

The Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 was placed on the statute book at the end of July.  There are some big changes proposed and transitional arrangements are required.  Scotland’s chief planner John McNairney has forecast that it will take two years for the planning system to be up and fully running now that the new Act is on the statute books.  The big question is how much opportunity is there to influence the provisions for the implementation and regulations?

A series of blogs on topics related to the new Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 will be published by Lichfields over the next few weeks setting out our thoughts on matters arising including first the new arrangements for regional planning, the national planning framework, local development plans and local place plans and then consideration of what the new evidence reports should contain, our thought on assessing housing need and allocation deliverable housing land, thoughts on assessing properly and planning for employment land, examinations, viability and deliverability, etc.
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