Scotland planning news, April 2022


Scotland planning news, April 2022

12 Apr 2022




Headline news


Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee makes recommendations regarding NPF4 ambitions

The Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee has published its 4th Report into National Planning Framework 4 (NPF 4). Concerns have been raised about the ambition of NPF 4, associated resourcing implications and the need to monitor outcomes.
Concerns and recommendations raised by the Committee include:
  • Greater clarity on the priorities of NPF4;
  • The meaning of terms used should be clear in order that the document is useable and accessible;
  • The prominence given to climate change policy is supported, but the Committee would welcome “further reflection from the Scottish Government how that change will be driven and how it will be balanced against competing priorities”. Similarly, NPF4 should make clearer what is expected of local authorities when considering applications for renewables: “any application must be considered carefully and a balance must be struck between our renewable energy ambitions and their impact on biodiversity”;
  • The need to alleviate consultation fatigue;
  • Lack of ambition in the Minimum All-Tenure Housing Land Requirement and a need to review the Housing Need and Demand Assessment (HNDA);
  • The final version of NPF4 might be materially different from the draft version so sufficient time should be allowed for the Committee to scrutinise the final NPF4 before Parliament is invited to approve it; and
  • Consideration of how the resourcing of planning departments is addressed.
Given the current state of local authority planning departments it is debateable whether even with full cost recovery within the development management function they will have the resources to move toward the kind public led planning necessary to realise the ambitions of NPF4. In any event, it is key that any funding coming to local authorities from full cost recovery is retained by planning departments. It is also key that not only is there a very significant increase in the number of local authority planners but both current and new planners must be given the training and skills to work in this new environment”.
In related news, Scottish Housing News published a letter from housing and planning organisations calling on the Scottish Government to extend its consultation beyond 31 March, to discuss their concerns and to develop their ideas.
In the letter to Planning Minister Tom Arthur MSP, the bodies “noted the lack of detail contained within the draft document and the absence of a clear delivery plan, backed by financial commitments and an effective monitoring process”. The also asked the Scottish Government to consider the country’s changing demographics, link to related national strategies, address the diverse needs of urban and rural Scotland and address resourcing.

‘Pausing NPF 4’, Housing and Place Delivery Forum in Scotland, published by Scottish Housing News, 4 April 2022



Quote of the month

The Committee welcomes NPF4 and its ambition. The Committee has, however, raised concerns in this report about aspects of NPF4 and the capacity of the planning system to deliver on its ambitions. The Committee asks the Scottish Government to reflect on these concerns as it prepares the final version of NPF4 for laying.
Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee, National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) 4th Report, March 2022


Duration of permissions and consents extended again

The lives of planning permissions, planning permissions in principle, conservation area consents and listed building consents due to lapse during a now extended emergency period, have been extended; the Town and Country Planning (Miscellaneous Temporary Modifications) (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Regulations 2022 (‘2022 regulations’) came into force on 30 March 2022.
Planning permissions, conservation area consents and listed building consents due to expire between April 2020 and 30 September 2022 (previously 31 March 2022) must now be implemented by 31 March 2023 (previously 30 September 2022).
The 2022 regulations also retain the suspension of the requirement for public events in pre-application consultation (PAC) until the end of 30 September 2022, albeit applicants can choose to run public events and the LPA may require it in certain circumstances.
The Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 (Commencement No. 6 and Transitional Provision) Amendment Regulations 2022 also came into force on 30 March 2022. These Regulations also contain provisions related to postponement of pre-application consultation (PAC) changes; they delay the coming into force of the Town and Country Planning (Pre-Application Consultation) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2021 (‘PAC amendment regulations’).
The PAC amendment regulations will introduce - now on 1 October 2022 instead of 1 April 2022 - the new time limit for making applications for planning permission to which PAC requirements apply. Section 18(3) of the 2019 Act will be amended to add a time limit specifying that to comply with PAC requirements an application must be made within 18 months from when the proposal of application notice is given to the planning authority. This is intended to avoid the PAC being too divorced in time from the application.
This reflects the coming into force of the wider package of changes to the PAC requirements that the PAC amendment regulations will introduce via the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (Scotland) Regulations 2013.
The policy note to the 2022 regulations reiterates that the flexible approach to planning enforcement will end on 30 September 2022.

The Town and Country Planning (Miscellaneous Temporary Modifications) (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Regulations 2022

The Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 (Commencement No. 6 and Transitional Provision) Amendment Regulations 2022

Increase to planning fees

The Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications) (Scotland) Regulations 2022 (‘the Fee Regulations’) came into force on 1 April 2022. The regulations increase planning fees to the following applications:
  • Planning permission;
  • Permission in principle;
  • Lawful development certificates;
  • Consents for the display of advertisements;
  • Prior approvals; and
  • Approval, consent or agreements required by conditions attached to the granting of permissions in principle.
The increase follows a consultation in 2019 that sought views on planning fees and performance. It is the first time there has been an increase for planning fees in eight years. The fee for a new build house will increase from £401 to £600 per house for the first 10 houses, with the rate dropping to £450 per house for houses 11-49 and to £250 for each house over 50 up to the maximum fee of £150,000. Prior approval applications now cost £100, up from £78. Planning permission in principle applications will cost £600 where only one dwellinghouse is to be created. Where more than one dwellinghouse is to be created and the site area does not exceed 2.5 hectares it will cost £600 for each 0.1 hectare of the site area. When the site area exceeds 2.5 hectares it will be £600 for each 0.1 hectare up to 2.5 hectares of the site area, and then £300 for each 0.1 hectare in excess of 2.5 hectares, subject to a maximum of £75,000. Planning Minister Tom Arthur said:
“This is a significant change to planning fees, which will provide substantial additional income to authorities and help to move towards fully recovering the cost of dealing with planning applications”.
The Explanatory Memorandum to the Fee Regulations says:
Research has shown that on average, planning fees only cover 63% of the cost of processing an application which indicates that Local Authorities and ultimately tax payers are subsidising the planning application process”.

The Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications) (Scotland) Regulations 2022, Explanatory Memorandum

The Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications) (Scotland) Regulations 2022

Scottish Government, Press Release, Improving planning processes

Building Safety: Residential Property Developer Tax

The legislation introducing the UK wide Residential Property Developer Tax came into force on 1 April 2022. This is a new 4% tax which applies to the largest residential property developers on the profits they make on UK residential property development. It will affect companies or groups of companies undertaking UK residential property development with annual profits in excess of £25 million and is to contribute towards the cost of removing unsafe cladding.

Finance Act 2022, Part 2, Residential Property Developer Tax


City Centre Recovery Task Force report published

A report produced by the Scottish Government with the Scottish Cities Alliance considers the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on city centres. It identifies broad, cross-cutting policy recommendations for immediate action on recovery and longer term outcomes to support city centre recovery.

At the Heart of Economic Transformation: Report of the City Centre Recovery Task Force, 2021-22

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