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

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

Next steps

We are committed to taking forward a positive and ambitious programme of planning reform over the coming months. Some of our proposals for change will be achieved through a Planning Bill and related secondary legislation, but there also is much that can be achieved ahead of these changes.

Alongside consultation on the proposals set out here, in 2017 we will continue to take forward research that will help to support future changes to the system. We will also set up and develop the work of the digital task force and reconvene the six working groups who have helped us to develop this paper to explore the emerging proposals further.

We are keen to ensure that our national planning policies remain up to date and relevant to the wider planning system. We will therefore publish the National Planning Framework ( NPF) 3 Monitoring Report later in 2017, and thereafter consider the timing of NPF 4 and revision of Scottish Planning Policy ( SPP).

Additional consultations

We recognise that the proposals set out here remain at an early stage, and that in some cases there will be benefit from more detailed consultation on more detailed changes. In the coming year we will therefore consult further on:

  • More detailed proposals for enhanced fees and discretionary charging, taking into account emerging proposals.
  • Extended permitted development rights, informed by the ongoing work of Heads of Planning Scotland.

Impact assessments

We are considering the impact of implementing our proposals.

An Equalities Impact Assessment ( EQIA) will help us understand policy impacts on people because of their age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. This will allow us to identify (and mitigate) negative impacts and proactively look for opportunities to promote equality.

A Business Regulatory Impact Assessment ( BRIA) will allow us to assess the likely financial costs and benefits and the associated risks of the proposals that might have an impact on the public, private or third sector.

A Children's Rights and Wellbeing Assessment ( CRWIA) will allow us to assess whether the proposals will advance the realisation of children's rights in Scotland and protect and promote the wellbeing of children and young people.

You can find our partial impact assessments at: /policies/planning-architecture/reforming-planning-system/

In mid-2017 we will also provide an update on the outcome from this consultation, the analysis of consultation and a summary of the proposed legislative changes. Alongside this, we will publish a Strategic Environmental Assessment ( SEA) Environmental Report. Views will be invited at this stage, in line with the requirements of the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005.

We will also update the BRIA and EqIA at this time.

Testing the proposals - research, pilots and exemplars

Several key changes to the planning system would benefit from further testing and practical consideration, not least the proposals that aim to improve development delivery. During 2017:

  • We will commission further research to inform proposals for local place plans, alignment of consents and monitoring of the outcomes from the planning system.
  • We will pilot Simplified Planning Zones. We have identified a number of early projects to explore a zoned approach to housing through early SPZs. We will continue to encourage involvement in this programme over the coming months.
  • We will work with the Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals to explore proposals, including for an early gatecheck to support the development plan examination.
  • We will further explore the ways in which we can significantly strengthen development plan action programmes. We will invite the Scottish Futures Trust to work with planning authorities to explore the extent to which proposals can be more fully specified, costed and linked with sources of finance.
  • We will design our 2017-18 charrette programme to reflect the opportunities for place planning and wider involvement outlined in section 2.

We would like to hear from any planning authorities, developers or communities, including community councils, who wish to work with us to explore how the proposals set out here could work in practice.
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Culture change, skills and performance

Many of the changes will depend on continuing efforts to change the way the planning profession goes about doing its business on a day-to-day basis. We believe there is a need for culture change in the profession, on the part of professionals in the public and private sectors alike. We will therefore work with Heads of Planning Scotland, COSLA, the Improvement Service and the Royal Town Planning Institute Scotland to:

  • Design and launch a graduate intern scheme.
  • Establish a skills database.
  • Design a training programme for the planning profession in Scotland, focusing on, but also extending beyond, planning authorities to include the development sector, communities and key agencies.
  • Identify priorities for shared services.
  • Revise the guidance on Planning Performance Frameworks.

Getting involved

Views are now invited on the proposals set out in this consultation paper. Respondents are asked to focus on the questions provided for each of the four areas of change.

Responses to the consultation should be submitted to Planning and Architecture Division of the Scottish Government by 5pm on Tuesday 4 April 2017.

Next steps - consultation questions

Optional technical questions

35. Do you think any of the proposals set out in this consultation will have an impact, positive or negative, on equalities as set out above? If so, what impact do you think that will be?

36. What implications (including potential costs) will there be for business and public sector delivery organisations from these proposals?

37. Do you think any of these proposals will have an impact, positive or negative, on children's rights? If so, what impact do you think that will be?

38. Do you have any early views on whether these proposals will generate significant environmental effects? Please explain your answer.


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