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

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

Key changes

Making Plans for the Future

We want Scotland's planning system to lead and inspire change by making clear plans for the future. We propose:

1 - Aligning community planning and spatial planning. This can be achieved by introducing a requirement for development plans to take account of wider community planning and can be supported through future guidance.

2 - Regional partnership working. We believe that strategic development plans should be removed from the system so that strategic planners can support more proactive regional partnership working.

3 - Improving national spatial planning and policy. The National Planning Framework ( NPF) can be developed further to better reflect regional priorities. In addition, national planning policies can be used to make local development planning simpler and more consistent.

4 - Stronger local development plans. We believe the plan period should be extended to 10 years, and that 'main issues reports' and supplementary guidance should be removed to make plans more accessible for people. A new 'gatecheck' would help to improve plan examinations by dealing with significant issues at an earlier stage.

5 - Making plans that deliver. We can strengthen the commitment that comes from allocating development land in the plan, and improve the use of delivery programmes to help ensure that planned development happens on the ground.

People Make the System Work

We want Scotland's planning system to empower people to decide the future of their places. We propose:

6 - Giving people an opportunity to plan their own place. Communities should be given a new right to come together and prepare local place plans. We believe these plans should form part of the statutory local development plan.

7 - Getting more people involved in planning. A wider range of people should be encouraged and inspired to get involved in planning. In particular, we would like to introduce measures that enable children and young people to have a stronger voice in decisions about the future of their places.

8 - Improving public trust. Pre-application consultation can be improved, and there should be greater community involvement where proposals are not supported in the development plan. We also propose to discourage repeat applications and improving planning enforcement.

9 - Keeping decisions local - rights of appeal. We believe that more review decisions should be made by local authorities rather than centrally. We also want to ensure that the system is sufficiently flexible to reflect the distinctive challenges and opportunities in different parts of Scotland.

Building More Homes and Delivering Infrastructure

We want Scotland's planning system to help deliver more high quality homes and create better places where people can live healthy lives and developers are inspired to invest. We propose:

10 - Being clear about how much housing land is required. Planning should take a more strategic view of the land required for housing development. Clearer national and regional aspirations for new homes are proposed to support this.

11 - Closing the gap between planning consent and delivery of homes. We want planning authorities to take more steps to actively help deliver development. Land reform could help to achieve this.

12 - Releasing more 'development ready' land. Plans should take a more strategic and flexible approach to identifying land for housing. Consents could be put in place for zoned housing land through greater use of Simplified Planning Zones.

13 - Embedding an infrastructure first approach. There is a need for better co-ordination of infrastructure planning at a national and regional level. This will require a stronger commitment to delivering development from all infrastructure providers.

14 - A more transparent approach to funding infrastructure. We believe that introducing powers for a new local levy to raise additional finance for infrastructure would be fairer and more effective. Improvements can also be made to Section 75 obligations.

15 - Innovative infrastructure planning. Infrastructure planning needs to look ahead so that it can deliver low carbon solutions, new digital technologies and the facilities that communities need.

Stronger Leadership and Smarter Resourcing

We want to reduce bureaucracy and improve resources so Scotland's planning system can focus on creating great places. We propose:

16 - Developing skills to deliver outcomes. We will work with the profession to improve and broaden skills.

17 - Investing in a better service. There is a need to increase planning fees to ensure the planning service is better resourced.

18 - A new approach to improving performance. We will continue work to strengthen the way in which performance is monitored, reported and improved.

19 - Making better use of resources - efficient decision making. We will remove the need for planning consent from a wider range of developments. Targeted changes to development management will help to ensure decisions are made more quickly and more transparently.

20 - Innovation, designing for the future and the digital transformation of the planning service. There are many opportunities to make planning work better through the use of information technology. The planning service should continue to pioneer the digital transformation of public services.


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