Local Development Plans (LDPs) provide the vision for how communities will grow and develop in the future. The intention is that they provide certainty for communities and investors alike about where development should take place and where it should not and the supporting infrastructure required for growth.
Information gathering and analysis should serve efficient high quality plan-making. Authorities should therefore take a proportionate approach and consider what is required, and where scarce resources can best be spent, to inform the particular issues being addressed in the plan. Evidence should be presented in a form that can be readily understood.
Main Issues Reports (MIRs)
Main issues reports are key documents in terms of front-loading effective engagement on the plan. They are the principal opportunity within the plan preparation process for productively consulting stakeholders on the content of the plan and for involving the wider public. Main issues reports are not draft versions of the plan, but should concentrate on the key changes that have occurred since the previous plan and on the authority's big ideas for future development. They should identify a preferred option and reasonable alternatives, and be informed by a sound evidence base. MIRs are also important for aligning development planning with Strategic Environmental Assessment.
Having had regard to the representations received on the main issues report, section 18 of the Act requires the planning authority to prepare and publish a proposed plan. Scottish Ministers expect the proposed plan to represent the planning authority's settled view as to what the final adopted content of the plan should be. Increasingly we want development plans to be about place and people rather than policy compendia.
Plans need to be clear and accessible to all stakeholders.