The National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) outlines a clear commitment from the Scottish Government to think differently about places we live in and sets out the concept of local living. The local living and 20 minute neighbourhood concepts aim to create places where people can meet the majority of their daily needs within a reasonable distance of their home, by walking, wheeling or cycling. These concepts were consulted on as part of the preparation of NPF4, which was adopted by the Scottish Parliament in February 2023.
To support the ambitions of NPF4 and to assist in the delivery of the adopted policy position, the Scottish Government has published the Local Living and 20 Minute Neighbourhood: Draft Planning Guidance. This guidance sets out:
- The context and benefits of local living and 20 minute neighbourhoods.
- What local living looks like - the key considerations of local living and 20 minute neighbourhoods.
- Ways to support the delivery of local living and 20 minute neighbourhoods, including case studies.
The guidance is intended to support local authorities, communities, and others with an interest in local living and 20 minute neighbourhoods. The Scottish Government expect this to be of particular relevance in the preparation of Local Development Plans (LDPs), Local Place Plans (LPPs) and to support planning decision-making. The guidance is intended to provide additional detail and clarification of existing policy to support effective and efficient implementation of placemaking initiatives.
A public consultation on the draft guidance ran between 27 April and 20 July 2023. Containing 10 questions, the consultation aimed to gather a broad range of public and stakeholder views on each element of the guidance.
The findings from the analysis will be used by the Scottish Government to amend and finalise the guidance prior to publication.
In total, 615 consultation responses were received. Almost all were submitted via the online consultation platform, Citizen Space. Those received in an alternative format, for example, an email or PDF document, were reviewed separately by the research team.
Individuals provided 509 responses to the consultation; the remaining 106 were from organisations. To aid analysis, organisations were grouped on the nature of their work. The largest number of organisations were from local authorities and their associated bodies (25), organisations involved in land management, planning, development or architecture (22), health and social care organisations, including advocacy bodies (12), and third sector or other advocacy bodies (12). A full breakdown is included in Appendix B.
The Lines Between was commissioned to provide a robust, independent analysis of the responses to the public consultation. The main purpose of consultation analysis is to understand the full range of views expressed, not to quantify how many people held particular views. This report provides a thematic analysis of responses based on the analysis approach outlined below.
There were nine closed consultation questions, most of which asked respondents how helpful they found the draft planning guidance.
As not all respondents answered each closed question, each table in this report shows the number and percentage of responses among those answering each question and, for the criteria, broken down by individual and organisation responses. Please note that figures in the tables may not add to 100% due to rounding.
A full breakdown of the number and percentage of responses to each question, including by type of organisation, can be found in Appendix B.
Qualitative analysis identifies the key themes across responses to each question. The research team developed a draft coding framework based on a review of the consultation questions and a sample of responses. During the coding process, new codes were created if additional themes emerged.
In a small number of instances where alternative format responses contained information that did not align with specific questions, analysts exercised judgement about the most relevant place to include this material for analysis purposes.
Where appropriate, quotes from a range of participants are included to illustrate key points and provide useful examples, insights and contextual information.
Reflecting the large number of people who took part, it is not possible to detail every response in this report; a few organisations shared lengthy submissions which reflect their specific subject matter expertise. These responses are referenced where possible. Full responses to the consultation, where permission for publication was granted, can be found on the Scottish Government’s consultation website.
Weight of opinion
This report presents the themes identified in responses from most to least commonly identified. All themes, including views shared by small numbers of respondents, are covered; an insightful view expressed by a very small number of participants is not given less weight than more general comments shared by a majority.
Similarly, all responses have an equal weighting. We recognise this means a response from an individual has the same weight as the response from an organisation which may represent many members, but this approach ensures all views are presented.
Qualitative analysis of open-ended questions does not permit the quantification of results. However, to assist the reader in interpreting the findings, a framework is used to convey the most to least commonly identified themes in responses to each question:
- The most common / second most common theme; the most frequently identified.
- Many respondents; more than 20, another prevalent theme.
- Several respondents; 10-19, a recurring theme.
- Some respondents; 5-9, another theme.
- A few / a small number of respondents; <5, a less commonly mentioned theme.
- Two/one respondents; a singular comment or a view identified in two responses.
When reviewing the analysis in this report, we would ask that the reader consider that public consultation of this kind means anyone can express their views; individuals and organisations interested in the topic are more likely to respond than those without a direct or known interest. This self-selection means the views of respondents do not necessarily represent the views of the entire population.
Many themes were raised by respondents repeatedly across the consultation questions, regardless of the specific focus of a question. All comments have been included in the analysis, and all themes emerging from the analysis are included in this report.
While the consultation focused on the draft planning guidance, the vast majority of individuals responded with negative views on the overall concept of local living and 20 minute neighbourhoods. While their opinions are valid, their responses did not directly address the questions, so a summary of their views is presented in Chapter 9.
Given the above, and to avoid repetition, the report is structured as follows:
- Chapter 2 provides an overview of overarching views on the draft planning guidance. These are prevalent themes which were evident across multiple questions.
- Chapters 3 to 6 present the analysis of responses to Q1 to Q8, which cover the four parts of the guidance.
- Chapter 7 details Q9 which asked respondents if they had any views on the impact assessment update report, and Chapter 8 details other considerations which were raised by respondents at Q10.
- Chapter 9 summarises the views expressed by many individuals on the concepts of local living and 20 minute neighbourhoods.
- Conclusions are set out in Chapter 10.
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