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21/02/2018

‘More ambition’ required in Scots planning bill

Words: Laura Edgar
Community meeting / iStock-155096458

The Scottish Government must be ‘more ambitious’ in its plan to involve local communities earlier on in the planning process, according to the Scottish Alliance for People and Places.

Chair Henry McLeish says the Planning (Scotland) Bill must feature a requirement to engage communities at an earlier stage in the planning system.

The recommendation was made in the organisation’s written submission to the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Communities Committee, which is scrutinising the bill.

McLeish said: “The simple truth is that many communities across Scotland do not feel involved in key decisions about their local areas. There is a wide consensus and ambition out there, including in the Scottish Government, to bring about a transformational culture change in planning that puts people at the heart of the decision-making about their local places.

“We welcome the intention and the progress in the planning bill, but to make this ambition a reality we have to be willing to be bold and make involving local communities meaningfully at the earliest stages of the planning process an explicit legal requirement.”

The submission makes 15 recommendations in total, including the following guidance.

  • The National Planning Framework should be subject to parliamentary approval to improve consensus and local buy-in.
  • There should be a chief planning officer in each local authority to oversee the link between community and spatial planning at a local level.
  • National and regional housing targets should be set in the National Planning Framework and regional spatial strategies.
  • Appropriate new resources need to be in place to ensure that local place plans are meaningful, and all communities can avail themselves of their right to develop them.

The full list of recommendations can be found on the Scottish Alliance for People and Place website (pdf).

* The Scottish Alliance for People and Place comprises 12 organisations including RTPI Scotland. 


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Image credit | iStock

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