Latest News

Couple arrested in money laundering crackdown

24 September 2018

The National Crime Agency (NCA) arrested a ‘Politically Exposed Person’ from Pakistan and his wife last week, following allegations of money laundering corruption. Read More...

Are bats sucking the blood out of your sale?

21 September 2018

House sales are tricky enough, but what happens when there are bats living in the property you are selling? Here's what you need to know... Read More...

Funding boost for affordable housing

20 September 2018

Prime Minister Theresa May has called for an end to the stigma of social housing and offered a £2 billion handout to housing associations as part of and ambitious plan to provide tens of thousands of new affordable homes. Read More...

 

 

Scottish Parliament publish Planning Bill

Thursday 07 December 2017

A Bill for an Act of the Scottish Parliament to make provision about how land is developed and used has been introduced by Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities, Angela Constance MSP.

The highly anticipated Planning (Scotland) Bill follows a wide-ranging consultation from earlier this year on proposals which aimed to transform the planning system, and builds on recommendations of an independent review carried out by a panel of experts in 2016.

Ministers have insisted the Bill will improve the system of development planning, support the delivery of planned developments and include a new right for communities to produce their own plans for their places.

Provisions within the Bill include Simplified Planning Zones (SPZ) and proposals to develop an Infrastructure Levy to help support the development of infrastructure to unlock land for development. It also includes a new right for residents to produce their own development plans.

The Bill aims to bolster the status of the National Planning Framework, bringing Scottish planning policy within the statutory development plan. It will also remove the requirement to produce strategic development plans and changes the process of producing a local development plan so that there is greater emphasis on delivering developments.

More powers to take enforcement action against unauthorised development will be given to planning authorities, and planning authority staff will be required to undertake training. In addition, an infrastructure levy will be introduced in the bill that will be payable to local authorities and linked to development which can be used to help pay for infrastructure projects that could incentivise new development.

The Bill’s key aims include:

  • Focusing planning, and planners, on delivering the development that communities need “rather than focus on continuous writing of plans that lack a clear route to delivery”.
  • Empowering people and communities to get more involved and to have a “real influence” over future development.
  • Strengthening the strategic role of planning in co-ordinating and supporting the delivery of infrastructure needed to support development, including “much-needed” housing.
  • Reducing complexity, while “improving accountability and trust” in planning processes and decision-making.

In a ministerial statement to the Scottish Parliament, local government minister Kevin Stewart described how the Bill will create a new structure for a more proactive and enabling system with clearer development plans, earlier engagement with communities, streamlined procedures and smarter resourcing.

Mr Stewart said: “Scotland’s economy needs a world-class planning system. Our planning system must take a strong and confident lead in securing the development of great places that will stand the test of time and this Bill will encourage more people to play an active role in shaping these.

“In addition to restructuring and simplifying the system to provide greater certainty for investors and communities alike it will reflect the importance of development and infrastructure to achieve our ambitions for housing, schools and regeneration – creating jobs and generating economic growth.

“Performance improvement will be formalised so applicants can rely on receiving a consistent service and local authorities will have greater powers to charge for their services. In short, this Bill will reduce bureaucracy so that planners are better equipped to lead high-quality developments that support the economy and enhance our communities.”

RTPI Scotland has given the legislation a cautious welcome, insisting it should be bolder. Stefano Smith, convenor of RTPI Scotland, said: "The bill, as introduced, has the right direction of travel and will fix some of the issues faced in planning our cities, towns and villages.

“However, we question if it is bold enough to make the step change required for a world leading planning system."