Publication - Minutes

Key Agencies Group minutes: June 2019

Published: 26 Aug 2019
Date of meeting: 13 Jun 2019
Date of next meeting: 12 Sep 2019
Location: John Sinclair House, Edinburgh

Minutes from the Key Agencies Group meeting held on 13 June 2019.

Published:
26 Aug 2019
Key Agencies Group minutes: June 2019

Attendees and apologies

  • Alasdair McKenzie – Historic Environment Scotland (Chair)
  • Anna Gaffney – SEPA (Secretariat)
  • Katherine Lakeman – SEPA
  • Peter Hutchinson – Scottish Natural Heritage
  • Alison Baisden – Historic Environment Scotland
  • Dara Parsons –Historic Environment Scotland
  • Kate Givan – Architecture and Design Scotland
  • Claire Peters – SportScotland
  • Debbie Livingstone – Systra / Transport Scotland
  • Sasha Laing – Forestry Commission Scotland
  • Andrew Mcallister – Forest Enterprise Scotland 
  • David Bisset – Scottish Water
  • Kathie Pollard – Scottish Land Commission
  • Helen Fallas – British Geological Survey 
  • Peter Noad – Scottish Enterprise
  • David Wood – PAS

    
Apologies

  • Jim MacDonald – Architecture and Design Scotland
  • Brendan Turvey – Scottish Natural Heritage
  • Fiona Rice – Scottish Natural Heritage
  • Ivan Clark – Scottish Natural Heritage
  • Steven Smith – Scottish Water 
  • Adele Shaw – Historic Environment Scotland
     

Items and actions

1.    Welcome, introduction and apologies

2.    Planning Bill and other updates (Alasdair McKenzie)

Masterplan Consent Areas: KAG briefing

Alasdair provided an update to the group as to the KAG statement on Masterplan Consent Areas, advising that the joint letter containing KAG’s comments on the matter had been issued. This letter has been welcomed by the Minister and amendments have been lodged to reinstate the notification and call-in backstop which we are seeking. 

Planning Bill Stage 3 Amendments 

Alasdair provided an overview of the amendments submitted for Stage 3 of the Planning Bill. On the date of the meeting 170 amendments had been lodged, with the debate set for 18th-21st of June. The group noted the diversity of the amendments proposed for the bill and several members advised that they or other representatives from their organisations would be attending the Stage 3 debates. 

SESPlan 2 Update

Alasdair noted that SESPlan 2 had been recently rejected by Scottish Ministers. The group noted some difficulties as a result of this, particularly with regards to infrastructure planning and questions around what happens as we transition towards Regional Spatial Strategies. A letter from the Chief Planner and Minister has given some direction with regard to the rejection of SESplan 2 and we anticipate further information on Regional Spatial strategies will emerge in the coming months. 

Scottish Water Developers Forum 2019 

Alasdair extended his thanks to Scottish Water for the invitation to KAG members to attend the annual Scottish Water Developers Forum 2019. Alasdair noted that it was a good opportunity to meet with multiple stakeholders from the development community, and to hear some reflections from the Scottish Water leadership team, Homes for Scotland and the Planning Minister. 

Heads of Planning Conference (HOPS) Conference 2019 

It was noted that a number of individuals from the Key Agencies had attended HOPS this year, with individuals remarking that it was appreciated that the conference was opened up to a wider forum. 

Co-ordinated/shared input to conferences (Peter Hutchinson)

Introduced by Peter Hutchinson, the group discussed the benefits and value in a co-ordinated approach from the KAG group for attending conferences and events. This included the sharing of exhibit/stand costs, banners and staff attendance. The group agreed the value of this and shared experiences of recent conferences which would have benefited from a group approach. The Group also noted that it was vital that the messaging on shared resources such as banners, was correct and reflected our collective position on key issues such as engagement. 

Action: Alasdair McKenzie and Alison Baisden to investigate cost of pop-up banners and associated materials for KAG to use at conferences and events. 

3.    Historic Environment Policy for Scotland (Dara Parsons)

Dara Parsons provided an introduction and overview of the recently published Historic Environment Policy for Scotland (HEPS) document. Following the creation of Historic Environment Scotland (HES) in 2015, the organisation committed to undertaking a fundamental policy review. The public consultation exercise titled, “What’s your Heritage” in 2017/18 contributed to informing the policy content of the document, forming the basis for subsequent discussion and further consultation and engagement activities. This approach has allowed the HEPS document to focus on the historic environment in its entirety and provide a modernised approach to the management of our heritage in the current economic and use context. Dara went on to highlight that the HEPS document sits alongside other national policies for the historic environment within SPP and contains six policies under three topic areas including a policy on managing change. He also advised that there would be a suite of guidance documents produced to support HEPS in the coming months – a combination of updates to existing guidance and some new. 

Dara also advised that the webinar session with the support of the Improvement Service had been very helpful in terms of providing the technical support, platform and opportunity to share information on HEPS just before its introduction. 

The Group asked a number of questions and there was a discussion on HES designations and how these are taken into account in decision making contexts, in particular through the planning and other consenting systems. 

4.    A new KAG Service statement (Peter Hutchinson)

Peter Hutchinson provided an update on the proposal for a new KAG service statement. The group discussed the note on the service statement which Peter had circulated and discussed key points for inclusion in it. These included reference to the National Planning Framework, the delivery of culture change and sharing resources to deliver best practise. Peter asked everyone to send comments on the notes for the proposed service statement and advised that he would be in touch with the group volunteers previously identified to progress further. 

Action: All to provide comments on the joint KAG statement on purpose, principles and partnerships to Peter Hutchinson. 
Action: Peter Hutchinson to contact the volunteers to begin drawing together joint KAG statement on purpose, principles and partnerships. Volunteers include, Peter Noad, Sean Caswell and Adele Shaw.  

5. Joint Customer Survey (Peter Hutchinson)

Peter asked the Group if any of the organisations had recently undertaken a customer survey in relation to the services they provide. SNH were considering opportunities to undertake a joint customer survey with other partners to improve response rates from stakeholders. The Group responded positively with both SEPA and the HES noting that they undertook customer surveys more generally however it had been some time since a planning specific survey had been undertaken. The group agreed that all interested parties would get in touch with Fiona Rice to progress. 

Action: All interested parties to contact Fiona Rice to discuss next steps to progress a joint customer survey. 

6. Working group updates and discussion:

Environmental Evidence Sub-Group

Helen Fallas provided an update on the work of the Environmental Evidence Sub-Group.

As discussed at the previous meeting, the sub-group identified that there is potential for Planning Authorities to make enhanced and more targeted use of environmental information that is available to support LDP preparation. Following the ‘Show and Tell’ workshops in January the sub-group have been working on the terms of reference for the prototype and have been working with a number of Planning Authorities in bringing this forward. 

As previously identified, Helen concluded by saying that following the application of the prototype that the Environmental Evidence subgroup would feedback to both the Scottish Government and the Planning Authorities who have been involved in the subgroup’s work, identifying learning points and next steps for this work. This is expected to happen at the end of the year. 

The Group was very positive about the developments with regard to the tool and noted that they would be interested in any future events trialling the prototype with stakeholders. The question of whether Development Planning was being considered as part of the parameters for the application of the prototype was discussed. Helen advised that currently work with regards to integrating Development Planning was temporarily on hold however she would seek an update from the Scottish Government with regards to their intended next steps. 

Action: Helen Fallas to contact Liz Pringle for update on Scottish Government Digital Planning taskforce activities.

Partners in Planning Sub-Group

The Group discussed the potential for organising future Partners in Planning events, following the success of the launch event last year and the KAG event in January. Kate Givan, Katherine Lakeman and Alison Baisden reflected that an event would be a good launch for the work of the Placemaking sub-group and for finalising communication materials (such as banners). 

Alison volunteered to liaise with the Improvement Service to discuss potential opportunities for further events.  

Action: Alison Baisden to contact the Improvement Service to discuss future opportunities for holding Partners in Planning events. 

Placemaking Sub-Group

Katherine Lakeman provided an update on the work of the Placemaking sub-group, advising that the group now has a number of projects through which they can begin testing the pilot. The first of these is the Stirling Forthside project, working together with the Council and other key stakeholders as to how the Placemaking subgroup can support the aims of the area. There will be a workshop with key staff members on the 23 August in the Engine Shed to kick start the project. 

Katherine also provided an update on the development proposals at Perth West – a large mixed use site with residential, community, commercial and energy elements. The development proposals are progressing quickly with key stakeholders meeting arranged soon. 

Katherine also provided a brief update on the Leven Initiative, a sub-regional project which intends to improve the water quality of the Leven whilst also promoting inclusive growth of deprived communities located along the reach of the river. Katherine advised that there are number of stakeholders involved however not everyone is connected up to each other yet. 

Katherine also advised that other members of the Placemaking sub-group were talking to other potential partners including Glasgow City Council and a development proposal in the Scottish Borders. 

Action: Katherine Lakeman to prepare a brief presentation for next KAG meeting to provide an overview of the current activities of all Placemaking pilot projects. 

Planning Performance Reports & peer review

The group observed that Planning Performance Frameworks (PPF) are due on 31st July. As discussed at the previous KAG meeting, the group was also asked to pass contact names for PPF leads to Alison Baisden who will convene a PPF peer review meeting in July in support of the preparation of our next joint statement on performance.

Action: All to email over Planning Performance reports to Alison Baisden for peer review. 

Action: Alison Baisden to convene peer review meeting with PPF leads amongst reporting agencies.

NPF4 Sub-Group

Alasdair noted that Savills and Inherit had been commissioned to initiate some initial work on NPF4 however the outcome of this is not yet available. The next meeting of ourNPF4 sub-group has been postponed until timescales following hr epassage of the Planning Bill are agreed. This may not be until late summer 2019. 

Inter-agency Group on Renewables – IGOR

There was no update to provide on the work of the IGOR subgroup at this meeting. 

7.    Discussion on some recent/forthcoming Edinburgh planning cases with Steven Robb


Steven Robb introduced the group to a number of recent and impending planning applications across Edinburgh. The cases discussed included the former Royal High School, the IMPACT conference centre and other smaller scale developments in the Old Town of the city. Steven discussed the case history for each, the involvement with HES at various stages of the planning process and the opportunities and challenges which were faced by both HES as a statutory consultee and by the developers. The group asked questions which identified cross cutting issues which all the key agencies faced across Scotland, including economic pressures, call in from Scottish Ministers and how to collaborate and work positively with the development industry. Steven also showed examples of exemplar design which both preserved and enhanced the heritage features of specific building types and had brought previously vacant and derelict buildings back in to productive use. 


8.    A.O.B

Alasdair drew the attention of the group to the current Scottish Government consultation on a new National Public Health body: “Public Health Scotland.” 
Alasdair also noted the National Islands Plan and Island Communities Impact Assessment consultation was also open for comment.

Following no further AOBs, Alasdair thanked all for attending and closed the meeting.

Action

Who

When

Alasdair McKenzie and Alison Baisden to investigate cost of pop-up banners and associated materials for KAG to use at conferences and events. Alasdair McKenzie/Alison Baisden September 2019
Fiona Rice to update Pre-Application Statement to a more general statement on Key Agency Engagement Fiona Rice ASAP
Alison Baisden to draw together a package of existing information from the recent KAG conference including FAQs, information and photos, to allow KAG members to use and share the content of the event within their own networks. Alison Baisden On-going and with input from Peter Hutchinson

Trevor Moffat to update the HOPS Executive meeting at 15 April meeting and the Development sub-committee at the end of May on the KAG Placemaking proposal.

Trevor Moffat March and May 2019

All to provide comments on the joint KAG statement on purpose, principles and partnerships to Peter Hutchinson.

All ASAP

Peter Hutchinson to contact the volunteers to begin drawing together joint KAG statement on purpose, principles and partnerships. Volunteers include, Peter Noad, Sean Caswell and Adele Shaw. 

Peter Hutchinson ASAP

All, where relevant, to begin pulling together Planning Performance reports for 2018/19 and to pass contact names for PPF leads to Alison Baisden.

All ASAP

Alison Baisden to convene peer review meeting with PPF leads amongst reporting agencies.

Alison Baisden 25 July 2019

All interested parties to contact Fiona Rice to discuss next steps to progress a joint customer survey.

All ASAP

Alison Baisden to contact the Improvement Service to discuss future opportunities for holding Partners in Planning events.

Alison Baisden 31 July 2019

Katherine Lakeman to prepare a brief presentation for next KAG meeting to provide an overview of the current activities of all Placemaking pilot projects.

Katherine Lakeman September 2019

 

Contact

Group chair: Alasdair.McKenzie@hes.scot

Group secretariat: Anna.Gaffney@sepa.org.uk

Twitter: @KeyAgenciesScot