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Key Scottish planning policy withdrawn

Words: Roger Milne

The Scottish Government's chief planner John McNairney has announced the withdrawal of a key draft policy covering planning delivery advice on housing and infrastructure.

In a letter to all the country’s chief planners McNairney said that “after careful consideration” the draft policy would be withdrawn, effective from 1 December.

He explained: “In preparing the draft planning advice, our aspiration was to build consensus and provide clarity on a number of important housing policy and delivery issues. 

“Despite our best efforts to develop the guidance in an open, inclusive and collaborative way there remain a number of areas of continuing disagreement and some concerns over the weight to be attached to the draft advice. 

“Rather than continue lengthy discussions on current policies and guidance we intend to focus our resources on the changes emerging from the planning review.”

McNairney pointed out that the planning review focuses on a number of key themes, including housing, infrastructure and their delivery. 

“The review stages undertaken to date have allowed us to engage in dialogue with a wide range of stakeholders to explore how we can improve the system to better address these issues” he said.

“We would like to continue this positive approach as we move towards legislative change and subsequent reviews of policy and guidance over the coming months.”

The chief planner insisted: “Despite the withdrawal of the advice, there remains a strong policy position on planning for housing which is set out in Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) and supported by PAN 2/2010. We will consider the scope to improve on this when we come to review SPP in due course, aligned to and reflecting the outputs of the planning review.”