Current workstreams: Chief Planner letter July 2019

Letter from the Chief Planner providing an update on current workstreams being taken forward by Planning and Architecture Division.

This document is part of a collection

Dear stakeholders,

As the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 has now received Royal Assent, this is an opportune time to reflect on the changes it introduces and our future programme of work to implement the new requirements.

The Act, will be implemented in several ways:

  • The Act includes provisions for regulations to be made relating to a wide range of issues. These include development planning, development management, performance and fees. We are currently considering the timing and priority attached to each of these to inform a coherent forward work programme.
  • The Act includes new requirements for statutory guidance relating to a wide range of matters including regional planning, engagement, development management and the role of Chief Planning Officer. As with regulations we are considering what needs to be progressed initially, as well as matters that will develop over a longer timescale.
  • Alongside the Act, we have been progressing a sustainability appraisal of permitted development rights and expect to consult on a phased work programme on this.
  • We are considering transitional arrangements, particularly for development planning, and expect to issue further interim advice on this in the coming weeks.
  • Work has been progressing on establishing our approach to National Planning Framework 4, and we will provide more information on this on our website later in the summer.

We continue to work on the role of digital in support of planning and will provide regular updates via our webpages going forward.

Clearly this is an ambitious programme of change and we expect it will take around 2 years for the details of the new system to take shape. The speed at which implementation can progress will also depend on a range of factors including the capacity of the Scottish Parliament and stakeholders, resourcing, research requirements, and level of urgency in terms of the operation of the system. We will publish our work programme to provide clarity on priorities and timing in September 2019, and we also expect to convene working groups, building on previous engagement, to explore key areas of change around this time.

Opportunities for collaboration

We are grateful for the offers of assistance and input we have received to date and fully expect that there will be exciting opportunities for collaborative working to progress this work.

As part of this, we would like to hear from any experienced planning practitioners who would be interested in working in PAD on a temporary basis to contribute to the programme of work. Practitioners can support the programme in a variety of ways that can help to ensure the Act delivers on its policy objectives, As the timing of placements will depend on the prioritised programme of work and may well relate to many different, broad and specific, aspects of the system, as a first step we are compiling a list of practitioners who are open to working with us in this way. Expressions of interest are invited by 30 September 2019 setting out: name, organisation, position, areas of interest, a brief summary of your experience and expertise, and availability to work with us temporarily on a full or part time basis over the next two years. Please ensure your organisation supports your expression of interest before it is submitted.

We look forward to working with you as we move towards a new, improved planning system for Scotland.

Yours faithfully

John McNairney, Chief Planner



Area 2-F (South)
Planning and Architecture Division
The Scottish Government
Victoria Quay

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