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RTPI Scotland: Clearer national roadmap for development needed

Words: Laura Edgar
Scotland / iStock_000005929582

The Scottish Government should establish national development priorities across the country and map them out clearly in a new National Development Plan (NDP), say planners.

Responding to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the country’s planning system, RTPI Scotland says Scotland needs more specific plans to drive the country forward and achieve its economic and social targets.

The consultation, launched in January 2017, comprises proposals that aimed to align community planning and spatial planning, develop stronger local development plans and embed an infrastructure-first approach.

The consultation followed an independent review of the Scottish planning system, which recommended that a National Planning Framework (NPF) should replace strategic development plans.

The institute says a new NDP would set out where new developments, such as housing, should be located, how they will be funded and what infrastructure and facilities are required.

Stefano Smith, convenor of RTPI Scotland, said: “We are living in uncertain times. Given this we need a plan that gives certainty and confidence to communities, developers and investors. Our proposals for a new National Development Plan can do this by being clear on what the national priorities for development are, where they are to be constructed and how they will be funded. Providing a proactive route-map of Scotland’s future development will be beneficial to everyone who wants to make Scotland a successful and sustainable country.

“Such a plan also helps to better connect the government’s various strategies and funds – such as those on economic growth, infrastructure, housing, transport, climate change, social justice and energy – and achieve better integration across policy areas.”

The NDP would be a single statutory document, according to RTPI Scotland, bringing together and replacing the NPF and Scottish Planning Policy documents. The Scottish Parliament would need to agree to it to “ensure an open public debate on how to plan for the country’s future”.

RTPI Scotland’s response also recommends appointing a statutory chief planning officer in each local authority, ensuring full cost recovery for planning application and ring-fencing fees to support their assessment, and exploring how to provide a community right to plan.

The institute’s full response can be found here (pdf).

Read more about the Scottish planning review:

News Analysis: Scottish planning system needs simplifying

Strategic development plans should be replaced, Scottish planning review finds

News analysis: Scottish planning review – What do you think?

Scottish Government to reform planning following review

RTPI: Five things we learned from the Scottish Government response to the independent planning review

Convention 2016: Scottish planning review positive about profession

Institutes combine to establish planning reform priorities

Scottish Government consultation on aligning community and spatial planning launched 

Into alignment: An interview with John McNairney

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