Local Living and 20 Minute Neighbourhood - draft planning guidance: consultation analysis

We consulted on the Local Living and 20 Minute Neighbourhood: draft planning guidance between 27 April and 20 July 2023. The 10 consultation questions aimed to gather a broad range of public and stakeholder views on each element of the guidance.

8. Other considerations

This chapter provides an analysis of responses to Q10 which was answered by just over three fifths of respondents. A broad range of issues were raised, most of which have been covered earlier in this report. For example, the most prevalent themes in responses were general positive feedback on the guidance and considerations for the infrastructure required to implement 20 minute neighbourhoods. Additional themes, covered below, include planning considerations, potential benefits of implementing the guidance and local living, as well as the need for wider attitudinal and behaviour change.

Q10: Additional information: please provide any further comments on the draft guidance document. - Please let us know here

Planning considerations

In the most prevalent theme, many commented on the role of planning in implementing 20 minute neighbourhoods and local living. In particular, respondents requested more detail to assist planning considerations and felt the guidance should better recognise the benefit of building developments and input from non-planning professionals.

Several felt the guidance was not specific enough to aid planning decisions. They requested more specific, actionable details, e.g. focusing on requirements rather than considerations. A few expressed a view that the guidance appeared more useful for local authorities to assist in the preparation of LDPs, rather than as detailed, technical guidance to apply in planning application decisions. The need to balance flexibility with more precise guidance was evident in some responses.

“We are concerned that this guidance (in its current form) could lead to variances in implementation and interpretation across the new LDPs as well as within the interim period before LDPs are adopted. Whilst we understand that the delivery of 20 minute neighbourhoods will vary depending on context, we believe inconsistencies in the overarching principles should be avoided as far as practical.” - Geddes Consulting

Specific areas respondents suggested required further clarification included:

  • Whether the guidance was focused on requirements for LDPs, Local Place Plans or Development Management Processes.
  • How to apply the approach before local approaches have been set out in LDPs to help avoid challenges.
  • LDP housing site releases and housing site design briefs may need to be redesigned to align with the Local Living Framework.
  • Further information to inform the allocation of sites in LDPs, and how to use the information to inform development management decision-making.
  • Clearer ways in which places and buildings can be retrofitted or repurposed.
  • Stronger guidance for planning and licensing to reduce access to unhealthy products.
  • Consider what parts of Policy 15 can be adapted should some objectives be met but others are found to be impractical.
  • Clarify how the process will affect planning in relation to existing and proposed allocations and the determination of planning applications.

Other suggestions for improvement included providing the evidence base to underpin and inform local LDPs, outlining common obstacles or barriers authorities or planners may face, more acknowledgement of the housing challenges in rural areas and prioritising walking and wheeling in planning developments. More broadly, calls were made to attempt to reverse previous poor planning decisions and to recognise the complex, resource-intensive nature of planning.

A few felt the guidance should emphasise that development should not be stifled by the Local Living Framework, and could highlight the benefits of some developments for communities. One suggested mentioning major developments that often serve several neighbourhoods as a way to avoid local living being viewed as too inward-looking. At the other end of the scale, Paths for All highlighted small local projects could also make a useful contribution in meeting local priorities and contributing strategically.

Benefits of using local living approaches

Several discussed the value of adopting the framework in Scotland, highlighting the potential benefits of living locally on individuals’ quality of life and the environment.

“The value of 20 minute neighbourhoods is recognised in its ability to promote local liveability and places where the environment improves the quality of life.” – Public Health Scotland

In particular, the potential of the approach to strengthen and increase community participation and a sense of ownership in place was welcomed. Benefits included that the approach could help social cohesion, local regeneration initiatives, address inequalities and improve personal outcomes, e.g. through volunteering. The Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) felt it had the potential to bring a more even spread of services, employment, housing and green spaces.

Similarly, some outlined visions for their communities. These also centred on participation and acknowledging community-led action and volunteering across Scotland or gave specific examples of local interests and facilities, e.g. locally grown produce, creative groups, shops and wider use of Gaelic.

Address attitudinal change

Some noted that public attitudinal and behavioural change was required for the framework to be successful. In particular, persuading people to reduce their car use or adopt healthier behaviours was frequently noted. More research into identifying motivators and drivers for lifestyle choices was recommended by South of Scotland Enterprise. It was also noted that more work was required to encourage people to see the benefits of introducing local living and 20 minute neighbourhoods, as there was a danger that the public could feel alienated if it was seen as being imposed rather than introduced with their cooperation.

“The importance of individual behavioural change to promote walking and wheeling should be emphasised, especially in areas already walkable but with a reluctance to use public transport.” - HOPS


Related to wider equalities issues, a small number of respondents highlighted a potential consequence of improving neighbourhoods could be gentrification, which could act against local living principles. They argued that a greater focus on the ability of residents to ‘remain in place’ could complement other policy agendas, such as community living for older people.

“Moreover - research has shown that gentrification can occur where neighbourhoods have developed high levels of walkability - driving up prices and rents - which may push those with lower socio-economic status out of these areas. This has also been a well-documented concern with the creation of green space. What is being done to ensure that special attention is given to these vulnerable groups?” - Environmental Protection Scotland

“People’s ability to stay in their homes despite changing circumstances (whether financial or personal) is an essential piece of belonging. We would like to see this reflected more fully in the diagrams and key criteria of the guidance.” – SFHA


Email: Chief.Planner@gov.scot

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