Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 - Regional Planning

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Planning (Scotland) Act 2019  - Regional Planning

Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 - Regional Planning

Nicola Woodward 20 Aug 2019

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.

The RSS must identify:

  1. the need for strategic development; 

  2. the outcomes to which the authority (or authorities) consider that strategic development will contribute;

  3. priorities for the delivery of strategic development; and

  4. proposed locations for strategic development, which must be shown in the strategy in the form of a map or diagram.

Before adopting and RSS a planning authority/ies must publish a draft, the info used in preparing it and a statement inviting representations by a certain date.  There does not seem to be any provision requiring the planning authority to take account of representations made before they adopt the strategy.  There does not appear to be any examination.

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.

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