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South-east Scotland plan is turned down

Words: Laura Edgar
Edinburgh / Shutterstock_216865126

Scottish ministers have rejected the Edinburgh City Region Strategic Development Plan.

The SESplan 2 was put together by Edinburgh, the Lothians, the Borders and Fife planning authorities over four years. They had hoped that it would guide planning decisions across the region.

A letter signed by the country’s chief planning officer John McNairney cites three reasons for refusing the plan:

  • Ministers are not satisfied that the plan was informed by an adequate and timely transport appraisal.
  • It does not take sufficient account of the relationship between land use and transport.
  • Ministers do not support the use of supplementary guidance to resolve this issue. The letter refers to paragraph 274 of Scottish Planning Policy, which states the transport appraisal should be carried out in time to inform the spatial strategy of the plan. Adoption of the plan ahead of the preparation of supplementary guidance on transport is not an acceptable solution.

Responding to the rejection, Pam Ewen, interim chief officer – planning, said: “This is very disappointing news for Fife as a huge amount of work has gone into preparing the plan and it has already taken a considerable amount of time for the ministers to reach this decision, following an independent examination.

“We now need to review the reasons given for rejection and the implications. We will continue to work with SESPlan member authorities as we consider our next steps.”

McNairney writes that the Strategic Development Planning Authority (SDPA) can prepare a new SESplan 2 informed by a full transport appraisal that addresses strategic transport infrastructure issues, including cross-boundary requirements. He advises that the SDPA should “be mindful of the implications of the Planning (Scotland) Bill and any future transitional arrangements”.

He added that the Scottish Government is committed to working with the SPDA to address the implications of the decision with respect to future local development plans across the area.

The letter can be found here on the Scottish Government website (pdf).

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