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18/10/2016

Infrastructure is a top priority, say industry professionals at SNP event

Words: Laura Edgar

Securing resources for planning and infrastructure were two of the key themes discussed during a round table at the Scottish National Party (SNP) Conference.

Representatives from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Scotland, the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE) Scotland, and RTPI Scotland outlined what they thought should be the priorities for planning reform at the round table.

Earlier this year, an independent panel published its review of the Scottish planning system, recommending that strategic development plans should be replaced.

In response to the review report, the Scottish Government identified 10 immediate actions, including the extension of permitted development rights and strengthening of skills and capacity. It also said that it would publish a planning white paper by the end of this year.

Discussions at the round table focussed on how attendees and their colleagues could assist the Scottish Government in its plans to further improve and increase effectiveness across Scotland’s planning system.

The priorities identified were:

  • Put infrastructure first;

  • Secure resources for planning, both finance and skills;

  • Ensure a plan-led approach;

  • Take a holistic approach to development; and

  • Close the implementation gap between planning and delivery on the ground.

Using these priorities, RICS Scotland would write up a report.

Hew Edgar, policy manager at RICS Scotland, said: “The ideal outcome now is for the relevant ministers and parliamentary committee members, which will receive a copy of our report, to realise that these priorities can ensure the planning bill is effective in unlocking the sector’s potential to drive growth and sustainable development.”

Craig McLaren, director at RTPI Scotland, said the round table highlighted just how much consensus there is between different built environment professions on the changes needed to achieve an “empowered and effective” planning system.

“This consensus will be extremely valuable as we work with the Scottish Government to design workable changes to the system. Our ambition is that these changes will make planners and others better able to deliver great places for the people of Scotland.”

Image credit | Shutterstock

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