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The Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 was placed on the statute book at the end of July and after much to-ing and fro-ing on through the debate stages Regional Planning is “in” but will not form part of the Development Plan once the current Strategic Development Plans (SDP) are replaced by the new Regional Spatial Strategies (RSS).
RSSs are to be prepared without delay once this provision of the Act comes into force. It is not clear when this will be and Scotland’s chief planner John McNairney has forecast that it will take two years for the new planning system to be up and fully running.
So what is the role of regional planning now that it is outside of the development plan?
The RSSs will have a role in informing both the National Planning Framework (NPF) and the Local Development Plans (LDP) both of which will form the Development Plan but RSSs will not directly influence development management decisions.
Planning authorities must keep their adopted RSS under review and if they consider it appropriate prepare and adopt a replacement strategy. In any event a review is required every 10 years which should be followed by a revised strategy or an explanation as to why a revision is not necessary.
Interestingly, Scottish Ministers can direct a planning authority/ies to prepare and adopt an RSS for a particular region or direct a review on an adopted RSS.
It is my understanding that once a new NPF is in place the current SDPs will cease to be part of the Development Plan.