Planning Review Panel Report Published
The Scottish Government’s independent Planning Review Panel, which has been undertaking a ‘game changing’ review of the Scottish planning system, has published its report today, 31st May 2016. The report, entitled “Empowering Planning to Deliver Great Places”, runs to 58 pages and makes 48 recommendations in all.
We are yet to fully review the report but would flag the following significant recommendations for changes to the current planning system:
- To simplify the system, strategic development plans should be replaced by an enhanced National Planning Framework.
- The local development plan preparation process should be simplified, with the main issues report replaced by a single, full draft plan and local development plans moving to a 10 yea10-year.
- Communities should be empowered to bring forward their own “local place plans”, to form part of the development plan, and community councils should be given a statutory right to be consulted on the development plan.
- The certainty provided by the development plan in development management should be strengthened. Allocated sites should be afforded planning permission in principle, could be exempted from pre-application consultation requirements and could benefit from fast-tracked appeals. Conversely, where non allocated sites are proposed for development, a charrette or similar fuller consultation or mediation exercise could be required.
- Planning fees on major applications should be increased substantially and scope for further discretionary charging, for example for pre-application processes, should be considered further.
- To improve the speed of decision-making, processing agreements should be required for all major developments and planning authorities should be given new powers to remove inactive legacy cases from the system.
- Options for a national or regional infrastructure levy should be defined and consulted upon.
- A development delivery infrastructure fund should be established, which could be partly resourced by a mechanism to capture land value uplift.
- Section 75 planning obligations should be retained but their use minimised and the process streamlined. This recommendation is made in the context of housing developments only but may have wider implications.
- The panel is not recommending third party rights of appeal.
The Scottish Government has said it will now be considering the recommendations.