1.1.1 Significant changes to development planning are proposed as part of the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 (the 2019 Act), including those that seek to strengthen and simplify Local Development Plans (LDPs). The Scottish Government is proposing a new approach to preparing plans that will result in new style plans that support the management and use of land in the long-term public interest. The intention is to refocus plans on the outcomes that they will deliver for people and places, rather than the process of preparing them. Plans should be informed by consultation and collaboration so that they are relevant, accessible and interest people.
1.1.2 To guide the implementation of the changes proposed, draft Regulations and Guidance have been prepared by the Scottish Government. In December 2021, the Scottish Government published a consultation on the draft LDP Regulations and Guidance. This sought feedback from those who will use the legislation and guidance, plus other interested parties and the wider public.
1.1.3 A total of 32 questions were asked about the content of the proposed LDP Regulations and Guidance and the associated Interim Impact Assessments. Ironside Farrar were commissioned to provide a robust analysis and concise collation of the consultation responses received. The regulations and guidance will then be finalised taking account of the views gathered through the public consultation.
1.2 Part A, The Introduction
1.2.1 Planning reform has sought to strengthen and simplify LDPs in line with the objectives of the 2019 Act, which amends the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997, as amended (the Act). New plans should support the management and use of land in the long term public interest and refocus priority on people and places, rather than the processes of preparation. This outcome will be informed by consultation and collaboration to ensure relevance and accessibility.
1.2.2 The content of the consultation paper was informed by the work of three stakeholder working groups. These were subgroups of a Development Planning working group that has provided input to the planning reform programme at several points in its progress. Each group considered respectively the scope and content of future LDPs, the procedures for preparing LDPs, and the detail of the Evidence Report & Gate Check. The outputs from this work informed the detail in the draft secondary legislation and guidance which the consultation paper sought views on.
1.3 Part B, Proposals for Regulations
1.3.1 The consultation proposed that regulations will be kept to a minimum due to the amount of change brought forward in the 2019 Act which primarily establishes much of the detail. Regulations relating to the Evidence Report will require Scottish Ministers to notify the planning authority when a person has been appointed to assess the Evidence Report and their name. This person will be able to request further representations or information in connection to assessment. General costs incurred will be met by the planning authority who are also responsible for providing electronic copies of any documents referred to in the Evidence Report.
1.3.2 Regarding the Information and Considerations for LDPs, the regulations will consolidate with the requirements of the Town and Country Planning (Hazardous Substances) (Scotland) Regulations 2015. References to 'Strategic Development Plans' will be replaced with 'Regional Spatial Strategies', alongside the removal of references to 'Strategic Development Plan Authorities', 'Main Issues Report', 'Monitoring Statement' and Delivery Programme'. Development Plan Schemes will be required to specify the date for adoption and identify any changes to the delivery timetable.
1.4 Part C, Draft Guidance
1.4.1 The consultation also sought views on proposed secondary legislative requirements and draft guidance to stakeholders on implementing the future local development plan system. The Draft Guidance is structured in three sections, each fulfilling a different purpose. The structure enables guidance to be a live document that can be reviewed in parts and offer access to types of information as needed by different audiences. The three parts of the Draft Guidance should be considered together with draft National Planning Framework (NPF4) and relevant legislation to give a full understanding of all requirements and guidance for LDPs.
1.4.2 Section 1 of Part C sets out the overall aims and expectations for new style plans. It provides key messages of what they should be like in the future. Section 2 sets out the process of how to achieve a new style plan. It covers the legislative requirements, how these are met and responsibilities of stakeholders. Section 3 sets out detailed thematic guidance on how new style plans are expected to implement the Draft NPF4 policies for the development and use of land.
1.5 Part D, Interim Impact Assessment
1.5.1 The following Interim Impact Assessments and screening assessments were also prepared:
- Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA)
- Equalities Impact Assessment (EQIA), covering human rights
- Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment (CRWIA)
- Island Communities Impact Assessment (ICIA)
- Fairer Scotland Duty (FSD) (screening assessment)
- Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) (screening assessment).
1.6 Review of changes to Development Planning in the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019
1.6.1 The 2019 Act is part of a wider programme of reforms to the planning system as a whole, responding to the independent review of planning, which includes changes to secondary legislation made under existing powers as well as non-legislative changes. Some of the key aspects of the 2019 Act are its provisions in relation to the system of development plans; the opportunities for community engagement in planning; the effective performance of Planning Authorities' functions; and a new way to fund infrastructure development.
1.6.2 The 2019 Act retains the plan-led system, only requiring the review of development plans after 10 years instead of five years. The development plan has changed from the strategic development plan / local development plan / supplementary guidance, to the national planning framework / local development plan, but regard will also have to be given to the regional spatial strategy and Local Place Plans (LPP).
1.6.3 Strategic development plans are abolished, and replaced by regional spatial strategies. Interim amendments to plans will be possible. The right for communities to prepare a LPP will increase their involvement in plan-making. Although local authorities do not have a formal role in the preparation, communities preparing an LPP are likely to look to their local authority for information, if not assistance with plan preparation.
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