Planning and Architecture Division business plan 2018-2019: in-year review

Review of progress on the Planning and Architecture Division business plan for 2018-2019.


 Planning and Architecture Division’s 2018-19 Business Plan sets out our key business priorities and how we will work to support the Scottish Government’s 2018 Programme for Government and deliver our vision for a world class planning system to support inclusive economic growth and create great places for people and communities.

This In Year Review is designed to take stock of how we have progressed delivery of that plan up to end September 2018 and to highlight the key achievements, milestones and priorities for the remainder of the reporting year. It also includes information about corporate performance:

Key achievements

 In delivering Scottish Ministers’ statutory responsibilities and policies we have:

  • Made decisions on planning/historic environment casework by processing 25 notified applications of which 88% were taken within 28 days and 100% within 2 months.
  • Made decisions on cases involving the Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals. Of the five cases 0% were decided within less than 2 months and 40% within 3 months. 
  • Directed Aberdeen City and Shire Strategic Development Plan Authority to continue to produce their plan. 
  • Enabled 5 planning authorities to adopt their Local Development Plans: West Lothian, Stirling, East Lothian, Western Isles and Highland – Caithness and Sutherland. 
  • Provided input to 5 Proposed Plans within timescales required by planning authorities: Dumfries & Galloway, Inverclyde, North Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire and East Ayrshire Minerals Plan.
  • Provided input to 4 Supplementary Guidance consultations and enabled planning authorities to adopt 13 Supplementary Guidance documents. 
  • Helped Scottish Ministers’ to meet their statutory obligations on Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) across a range of policy areas, including on the Forestry Strategy, Forestry Felling and re-stocking and proposed marine protected areas and special protection areas.
  •          Responded to 100% of SEA Gateway cases within deadline
    •    Screening 38/38 responded on time.
    •    Scoping 21/21 responded on time.
    •    Environmental reports 10/10 responded on time.

To manage the delivery of the 2017 and 2018 Programme for Government commitments for Planning reform to support inclusive growth and investment we have:

  • Continued to progress the programme of Planning reform to build on, strengthen, and enhance the performance of the planning system, including providing advice and support as the Planning Bill progresses through stages 1 and 2 in Parliament.  Key developments and achievements include:
    • Parliament voting 107- 4 in favour of supporting the principles in the Bill following the Stage 1 debate on 29 May.
    • Stage 2 commencing on 12 September and supporting the Minister over seven sessions of the Local Government and Communities Committee, handling 390 amendments lodged; 244 of which were passed, making substantial changes to the Bill.
    • Provided Committee with Purpose and Effect Notes about Scottish Government amendments to help inform the Parliament.
    • The Local Government and Communities Committee extended the period for stage 2 to mid-November 2018, with stage 3 now expected in Spring 2019.
    • Facilitating six meetings of the Digital Task Force and a variety of  stakeholder events, meetings, webinars, interviews and conferences to inform the content of Digital Strategy for Planning.
    • Taken forward actions via Planning conveners to highlight and encourage local authorities to use their powers to restrict over-provision of pay day lending and betting shops on our high streets and encourage the development of local policies to support their actions.  
    • Published new guidance ( for Acquiring Authorities on the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) process in April 2018.
    • Agreed and published new desk instructions for Scottish Government and Agency staff involved in processing CPOs in August 2018.
    • Launched the Self Build Challenge Fund pilots in April 2018 to help diversify how we deliver affordable new homes and provide greater flexibility for home owners.
    • Supported the Simplified Planning Zone housing pilots to support more effective delivery through zoning of land and frontloading of consents and diversification of housing supply by supporting self- build.

To help deliver the wider implementation of the Programme for Government commitments by providing Planning and other specialist support we have:

  • Convened a rural planning summit, chaired by Ministers on 7 September to  identify challenge and opportunities for our rural communities and the economy; and, to consider how planning can innovate to support both Scotland’s rural economy and sustainable communities.  
  • Established a National Infrastructure Delivery Group to engage with stakeholders about priorities for an infrastructure first approach for Planning and are working with Scottish Futures Trust to progress a number of work-streams including funding & finance of infrastructure, co-ordination of infrastructure providers and key agencies; activating sites; demand side analysis and new schools approach.
  • Provided planning policy support and input to
    • The Scottish Government’s Energy Strategy
    • Energy Efficiency Programme
    • Climate Change Plan
    • Active Travel Policy
    • Unconventional Oil and Gas
    • Flooding
    • Aquaculture Industry Leadership Group, and the Aquaculture Capacity Working Group
    • Natural heritage
    • Onshore wind policy statement
    • Diet and Obesity strategy
    • National Transport Strategy

To manage delivery of other Ministerial commitments we have :

  • Delivered legislative updates to the service relating to changes in data protection legislation and planning fees for hydro developments.
  • Continued operation of the service enabling the submission of planning and building standards submissions online, and delivery of service improvements in line with changes in legislation.
  • Continued operation of the eDevelopment Support Desk in assisting both public and local authority users of the ePlanning and eBuildingStandards portals. In addition to providing assistance through the Support Desk, this has also included hosting several webinars and the eDevelopment Partnership Forum for our local authority partners in September 2018.
  • Launched the new communities grant funding scheme on 6 September
  • Overseen the appointment of a new Chair and Board members for Architecture & Design Scotland.
  • Supported the successful delivery of Scotland’s participation in the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale.

Corporate Performance  (as at end September)

  • FOI – 11/12 responses were issued on time (92 %).
  • PQs – 27/27 responses were issued on time (100%).
  • MACCs – 375/397 responses were issued on time ( 94%).  
  • Payment Performance 104/104 were issued on time (100%)

Key priorities for the remainder of 2018-19 are: 

  • Concluding the passage of the Planning Bill and then progressing a subsequent programme of secondary legislation and improved guidance.
  • Publishing Purpose and Effect Notes to ensure stakeholders are better informed about the Planning Bill.
  • Launching early engagement on Scotland’s Fourth National Planning Framework (NPF4), incorporating Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) and bringing together Scottish Government policies and strategies to form a long-term spatial plan for Scotland in early 2019.
  • Publishing the Digital Strategy for Planning setting out how we intend to deliver our vision of a world leading digital planning service in Scotland.
  • Publishing case studies of the featured build to rent projects to help to increase understanding of a private rental sector that provides quality homes with a high standard of management.
  • Oversee the appointment of further new Board members for Architecture & Design Scotland.
  • Host a workshop at the Scottish Rural Parliament in November 2018 to invite views on how planning can best support rural communities & businesses. 
  • Host Planning Conveners in November 2018 to update them on progress of the Planning Bill and wider Programme for Government commitments.
  • Host Heads of Planning Scotland in November to update on progress of Planning reform  including what Planning can do to support Housing delivery and inclusive economic growth; meet with Heads of Rural Planning Authorities to discuss challenges and opportunities for rural communities.
  • Host the 2018 Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning (SAQP) in November to celebrate the achievements of the Planning system in the following categories:
    •    Children and Young People - innovation where children and young people have made a positive impact on the planning of a place.
    •    Partnership - innovation in working collaboratively, at any stage, within the planning process.
    •    Place - innovation in any architectural building or place (built or natural)
    •    Plans - innovation in development planning ranging from strategic to settlements.
    •    Process - innovation in improving, or simplifying, any type of processes.
  • Support projects selected to receive funding through the Making Places initiative to encourage community participation in design processes to create great places to help reduce inequalities and promote health and wellbeing.
  • Publish good practice guidance on expanding permitted development rights for electronic communications.
  • Publish a sustainability appraisal on extensions to permitted development rights
  • Publish new advice for Property Owners affected by CPOs and further advice to Acquiring Authorities on technical aspects of the process.
  • Host (with RICS, the Scottish Compulsory Purchase Association and SOLAR) a series of training and networking events for Acquiring Authority staff and professionals involved in CPO work
  • Progress research into Inclusive Design, working with Transport Scotland and UKG Department for Transport
  • Promote Scottish interests with UKG on the implications of EU Exit and Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications for Architects
  • Develop plans to scale up the use of the Place Standard tool, as set out in 2018-19 Programme for Government
  • Provide advice to Ministers on legislative options for reforming CPOs.
  • Support the RIAS Doolan Awards Ceremony for the Best Building in Scotland to celebrate Scotland’s best and act as a spur for excellence in the profession
  • Support the Scottish Civic Trust My Place Awards.




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