SESplan 2 rejected by Scottish Ministers
16 May 2019
On 16 May 2019 the South East Scotland Strategic Development Plan (SESplan 2) was rejected by Scottish Ministers on the basis that strategic transport infrastructure issues were not properly considered.
This reflects badly on strategic planning for South East Scotland. The currently approved iteration of SESplan was approved in 2013. At the time of its examination it attracted significant criticism from Scottish Government Reporters in terms of meeting its housing land supply requirements. However, the plan was not rejected by Ministers on the basis that the issues surrounding housing requirements could be addressed by the preparation and adoption of supplementary guidance and approval was allowed.
Today’s Ministers’ decision on SESplan 2 is due to their finding that the plan has not be adequately informed by a full Transport Appraisal addressing strategic transport infrastructure issues, including cross-boundary requirements. This calls into question the plan’s spatial strategy. The ministers have highlighted that concerns in relation to these matters were repeatedly raised during preparation of SESplan 2 but have not been addressed.
Unlike with the previous SESplan, Scottish ministers have determined that the use of supplementary guidance is not a suitable means of addressing the issue. As the spatial strategy should be informed by a full Transport Appraisal, preparation of supplementary guidance on the issue would not allow for amendment of the spatial strategy if required, potentially rendering the strategy undeliverable.
Ministers have now requested the Strategic Development Planning Authority think again and prepare a new SESplan 2 properly informed by the required Transport Appraisal.
The rejection of the plan at this time will be a hindrance to local authorities in the area who have awaited approval of SESplan 2 before progressing their own Local Development Plans. This will likely result in development plans across the city region becoming out of date.