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McNairney clarifies housing and planning policy status

Words: Roger Milne
John McNairney

Scotland’s chief planner has written to all planning authorities to stress that no decisions have yet been taken in respect of housing and planning policy – the subject of a consultation due to end next month (9 October).

John McNairney states that he has been warned that some authorities may be viewing the current consultation on proposed changes to the planning policy as a direction from ministers that may be given significant weight in current planning decisions.

He underlines that no final decisions have been made on a change to existing policy.

“Any such change will be informed by the consultation and we encourage all stakeholders to respond,” he writes. “Until then the existing policy remains in place.”

His letter adds: “I would also like to make it clear to all authorities that none of the changes proposed in the consultation aim to undermine or contradict ministers’ stated commitments to delivering good-quality development, including housing and renewable energy projects.

“We have now adjusted the introductory wording introducing the consultation paper online to bring clarity to this position. The consultation closes on 9 October and we expect to reach a final policy position as soon as practicable thereafter.”

Meanwhile, in a related but separate development, the Law Society of Scotland has published a report that proposes amendments to planning policy on planning obligations and good neighbour agreements. The changes are designed to improve the efficiency and transparency of the planning process.

The report’s findings will feed into the government’s review of the planning policy.