Scotland planning news, May 2019


Scotland planning news, May 2019

01 May 2019



Headline news


RTPI Scotland warns against Planning Bill’s extra duties

The RTPI Scotland has warned Scottish MPs that the Planning (Scotland) Bill may be unworkable in its current form due to the number of additional duties placed on local authorities.

The RTPI Scotland published a briefing report aimed at MSPs to warn them about the need to find cross-party consensus when the Bill is discussed at Stage 3 to remove several of the duties currently included. Specifically, the RTPI encourages MSPs to not support ‘any amendments aiming to change the appeal system’, including third party rights of appeal; to remove any additional greenbelt application duties; and to not implement any principle of land value sharing before the Scottish Land Commission has completed its research.

In an unrelated news, a third list of Stage 3 proposed minor amendments to the Planning Bill was published, with changes suggested by Labour MSP Rhoda Grant covering 'National Scenic Areas', and 'Account of decline in population', among the others.

RTPI Scotland, MSPs urged to drop Planning Bill’s extra duties

RTPI Scotland, Planning (Scotland) Bill – Stage 3

Scottish Parliament, Daily List of proposed Stage 3 amendments to the Planning (Scotland) Bill



Quote of the month


As its stands, there is a need to either commit to funding these additional duties or remove some of them from the [Planning] Bill. If properly resourced, the planning system can positively deliver the homes and infrastructure we need, revitalise our town centres, improve public health and protect our most precious natural and cultural assets.

RTPI Scotland Convenor Julia Frost, in an RTPI news release


New Historic Environment Policy for Scotland published

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has published its new Historic Environment Policy for Scotland (HEPS), which it came into use on 1 May. Furthermore, the new HES’ Corporate Plan 2019 has also been released alongside the HEPS.

The HEPS replaces the previous Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement, and it is expected to be used to inform all planning decisions affecting the historic environment. It sets out the key principles around how the historic environment should be managed, and it forms part of a suite of documents aimed at informing decision-makers and land/asset owners, including local authorities.

Finally, HES has also pledged £427,000 of funds towards the new £7m Impact Heritage Fund. The Fund will provide loans to support projects aimed at re-using Scotland’s heritage buildings to deliver economic and social benefits.

Historic Environment Scotland, New planning policy launches for Scotland’s Historic Environment

Historic Environment Scotland, Historic Environment Policy for Scotland

Historic Environment Scotland, Scotland’s historic buildings to receive £7m boost

Simplified planning zone housing pilots update

The Scottish Government has published an update on its simplified planning zone (SPZ) housing pilots; the pilots are taking place in Argyll and Bute, Dumfries and Galloway, and North Ayrshire.

Specifically, the three pilots, which are expected to inform any potential legislative changes to be introduced via the Planning Bill, relate to:

  • De-risking sites to support self-build (Argyll and Bute);
  • Plot Passport – self build (Dumfries and Galloway); and
  • Proactive Designing Streets approach to deliver housing (North Ayrshire).

As specified in the Update, work is currently progressing on drafting conditions to include in the draft SPZ schemes, with the intention for these to be ready to be formally published for consultation ‘over the coming months’. 

Scottish Government, Simplified Planning Zone Housing Pilots: April 2019 Update



The Lichfields perspective


The RTPI Scotland’s warnings on the Planning Bill, as it currently stands, are not unexpected. As many stakeholders, including the Planning Minister, have noted over the last few months, the Bill places too many unfunded duties on local authorities. Almost six months on after the Bill completed Stage 2, it is now important that the Scottish Government makes clear what its actual plans are for bringing the Bill to enactment.

Giorgio Wetzl, Senior Policy Researcher


Disclaimer: This publication has been written in general terms and cannot be relied on to cover specific situations. We recommend that you obtain professional advice before acting or refraining from acting on any of the contents of this publication. Lichfields accepts no duty of care or liability for any loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from acting as a result of any material in this publication. Lichfields is the trading name of Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners Limited. Registered in England, no.2778116