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Revised planning fees in prospect for Scotland

Words: Roger Milne
Planning fees / Shutterstock_195196565

The Scottish Government has announced that it expects to lay planning fees regulations before the Scottish Parliament by the end of the year. It has also confirmed its commitment to planning reforms that should see the adoption of National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) by summer 2022.

According to the administration’s latest update on the reform programme, just published, it will be able to consult “soon” on the new development planning regulations and the guidance that will accompany them.

Regulations on the future amendment of the NPF and local development plans will be considered once the initial versions are in place next year.

The update, which runs to eight pages, stresses that the government remains “committed both to completion of the full package of planning reforms and to doing so in close collaboration with planning stakeholders and following thorough public consultation”.

The Planning and Architecture Division said it was still working on the role and arrangements for a National Planning Improvement Coordinator. Recruitment is expected to follow in early 2022. Work on regulations on annual performance reporting is ongoing as is work on regulations for training elected members.

The update highlights that the RTPI has progressed work on the appointment of chief planning officers, which the government will consider as it brings in changes to the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019.

Draft statutory guidance on the new breed of regional spatial strategies will be published later in 2022.

Next year the division will also set out the circumstances in which ministers will exercise call-in powers.

Activity to implement so-called Masterplan Consent Areas through new regulations was paused during the pandemic, but will now be taken forward so that new powers are in place to support delivery of NPF4.

The update highlights that work would resume on a welter of proposed development management changes during 2022. These include potential modifications to provisions relating to the delegation of decisions to planning officers and to local reviews as well as a requirement to publish planning obligations and an annual report.

The government intends to consult on proposals for the second phase of its review of permitted development rights in early 2022.

In the slightly longer term the administration expects to introduce legislation on land value uplift capture in 2023-2024.

Also promised is reform and modernisation of the compulsory purchase system in Scotland. This is scheduled for later this parliamentary session.

Meanwhile, the update insists that the digital planning programme remains on course, as does work on the so-called Place Principle. A new Our Place website will be launched and the administration will continue to support the delivery of 20-minute neighbourhoods.

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