Places, people and planning: consultation on the future of the Scottish planning system

We are seeking views on proposals to strengthen the planning system.


Scotland needs a great planning system.

Photo of Kevin Stewart MSP Minister for Local Government and Housing

The places where we live, work and play can have a major impact on our health, wellbeing, sense of identity and prosperity. Planning can nurture our places, our environment and our communities and guide future change so that it benefits everyone. Planning can co-ordinate and support investment, ensure that future growth reflects the needs of communities and is sustainable. Planning has a key role to play in delivering Scotland's Economic Strategy. The efficiency and reputation of the system has an important role to play in making Scotland an attractive place to invest.

We need to change the planning system so that it realises its full potential. Procedures and perceptions can be improved. Planning should not be bureaucratic and dull, but inspiring and influential. It should be dynamic, focused on outcomes, inherently efficient and effective. Our planning system should play a more active role in making development happen in the right places.

Our planning system has important strengths that have helped shape Scotland and there are examples of good practice around the country. However, we need to improve the performance of the system further so that it more effectively delivers for all of us. We need to improve the way the planning profession performs and is valued by others. This will need everyone's support - we all have a contribution to make. We can build on previous reforms and much can be done within the existing planning system through culture change and improvements to existing practices. We can also make some targeted changes to our planning legislation.

The independent panel who reviewed the system heard from communities, developers, professional planners and a wide range of organisations with an interest in planning. The panel set out clear recommendations for change. Since the panel's report was published in May 2016, the Scottish Government has discussed, with many different people, how we can make the system work better. The panel's ideas, and the enthusiasm of people who are interested in planning, have helped to shape our proposals for change. I am very grateful to those who have contributed to the review of the planning system.

I hope our proposals inspire you to comment on the future of planning in Scotland, and I look forward to hearing your views and ideas.

Kevin Stewart MSP
Minister for Local Government and Housing


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