Local Place Plans - proposals for regulations: consultation analysis
Independent analysis of responses to the public consultation on proposals for regulations for the preparation, submission and registration of Local Place Plans.
3. Form and content of the Local Place Plan
3.1 The consultation paper sets out a proposal that the LPP should contain two elements: a statement setting out the community's proposals for the future development or use of land within the area covered by the LPP; and a map of the area covered by the LPP, which must be annotated to provide the boundary. It suggests that other information being submitted to support the LPP may be best submitted as 'additional information'.
Question 3: Do you agree with the proposal that an LPP should contain a statement setting out the community's proposals plus a map of the area, setting out the LPP boundary?
Please comment on your answer (particularly if you do not agree)
3.2 Responses at Question 3 are set out in Table 3.1 below.
|% of individuals answering||97%||2%||2%|
|Community Council or Trust||36||0||0||36|
|Local Authority, Community Planning Partnership or Transport Partnership||31||1||0||32|
|Other - private sector||8||0||0||8|
|Third Sector or Voluntary Group||20||2||0||22|
|% of organisations answering||96%||3%||1%|
|% of respondents answering||96%||3%||1%|
3.3 A very substantial majority - 96% of those answering the question - agreed with the proposal that an LPP should contain a statement setting out the community's proposals plus a map of the area, setting out the LPP boundary. Of the remaining respondents, 3% of those answering disagreed and 1% had no view.
3.4 Around 130 respondents provided a further comment.
3.5 Comments made by those who disagreed tended to reflect issues also raised by those who had agreed. Where this applies, this is noted in the analysis presented below.
3.6 General observations made by those who agreed with the proposal included a focus on the importance of clarity. It was suggested that LPPs should be well-structured and visual, using graphics, photographs and maps.
3.7 There was a view that community bodies are likely to need assistance with LPP content, graphics and mapping work, and that this potentially raises significant resourcing issues. There was an associated call for the Scottish Government to consider what additional resources, including technical and funding support, can be made directly available to community bodies to support LPP work.
3.8 There were frequent references to the need for guidance on the development of LPPs, with further suggestions including that:
- A template would give a useful indication of the form and content that a LPP could take in line with the regulations and good practice.
- A steer on format issues would be useful, for example around ensuring legibility for readers and the use of other languages to reflect the community living in the area covered by the LPP. If local authorities are to register and potentially incorporate the content of LPPs into the LDP, the Digital Transformation agenda and the requirements on local authorities in terms of data standards, accessibility and General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) all need to be considered.
- Guidance on copyright should be provided.
3.9 However, it was also noted that for LPPs to work across Scotland, it will be important for local authorities and the Scottish Government to embrace diversity and anticipate a wide range of LPPs in terms of content, style and form.
Statement of proposals
3.10 In terms of issues about the statement to be clarified or addressed in guidance, queries included whether it would be a high-level vision or a set of specific proposals relating to specific types of development or sites. It was suggested that the type and level of detail of the content will likely have a significant bearing on its consequences in practice and the ease with which the planning authority can reflect it in the LDP.
3.11 One reason given for disagreeing with the proposal was that it will be important for the planning authority and the wider local community to understand how the proposals and delivery mechanisms were arrived at, and that this will require the statement to include more information than that proposed. A connected issue related to the point at which an LPP is taken into account in preparing the LDP – whether at the evidence report stage or when the proposed LDP is produced. It was suggested that this needs to be made clear and, if it is to be at the evidence report stage, then guidance has to be provided on the type of evidence that should accompany the submission of an LPP. It was noted that the timing of the submission of the LPP would also be critical as it would be inappropriate to delay the submission of the evidence report to Scottish Ministers while waiting for LPPs to be produced.
3.12 Specific suggestions for elements that should be covered in the statement, raised by those who had agreed or disagreed at the closed question, included that the following could be required:
- Terms of reference. Who is responsible for the LPP and how it is to be governed and reviewed.
- An anticipated lifespan of the LPP.
- The vision and objectives for future development of the area.
- Information on how the LPP complies with statutory requirements.
- Reference to any evidence base used to develop the LPP.
- A description of the consultation activity that has been undertaken and how this has informed the LPP.
- How proposals directly relate to land and buildings. The community's reasons or justification for identifying land and buildings of particular significance to their local area, supported by appropriate evidence.
- Information on the delivery of the LPP. The statement should also set out how proposals could be implemented with timeframes for delivery. Details on what steps they have taken to ensure the plans are realistic, for example whether they have landowner approval, whether there is funding available or how they propose to secure that funding.
- Any potential impacts of a proposal, for example environmental, inequality, economic, or health and safety-related.
3.13 A number of the suggestions set out above were also made in relation to additional information that could be required (see below).
Map of the area
3.14 Comments about the proposal that a map of the area covered by the LPP should be required included that this would be essential, and a clearly defined boundary would be highly beneficial. There was a view that, at its core, an LPP should be a spatial representation of a community's proposals for the area and that proposals should be spatially detailed and mapped as far as possible. However, an issue raised by a respondent who disagreed at the closed element was that the question presupposes that an LPP has a sharp boundary in the first place.
3.15 In terms of advantages that respondents saw as associated with a mapping requirement, there was reference to:
- Helping inform the community body proposing the LPP of overlaps with any other relevant plans, such as Locality Plans.
- Clarifying which communities may be impacted by the LPP, and potentially avoiding unnecessary overlapping with an adjacent community.
3.16 Although there was support for a map being required, it was acknowledged that this requirement would bring challenges, including in terms of community bodies having access to the skills, resources and permissions, that allow for creation or legal use of maps and diagrams. There was a call for LPP guidance to set out good practice for the production of maps and other visual information, with specific suggestions including that:
- Guidance - for both community bodies and local authorities - should cover the quality of mapping expected, and any costs attached.
- A basic template might help and could set out all the key requirements for an LPP to be held as valid by the local authority.
- Ordnance Survey originated maps would be preferable.
- Maps should be produced at an appropriately meaningful and legible scale.
- A variety of mapping should be encouraged, including 3D and townscape maps.
- Providing support in terms of access to geographic information systems and other digital tools will be necessary.
3.17 There was a concern about the estimated costs for design work set out in the partial Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA). The £2,000 - £2,500 estimate for design work given was described as prohibitive for many communities but, in any case, as optimistic. Cost-related solutions or options identified included that:
- The Scottish Government's digital planning programme has the potential to assist.
- It would be helpful if community bodies could take advantage of their local authority's access to Ordnance Survey maps.
3.18 In terms of any specific elements that respondents thought should be included with the mapping, suggestions tended to focus on the boundaries for any site-specific proposals. It was thought that setting out a project's extent physically could help prevent ideas becoming unrealistic, particularly within a budget. Other comments included that:
- An Ordnance Survey-based plan, showing the boundary of each site, should reduce the potential for disputes to arise over the interpretation of an LPP when, for example, having regard to it in preparing an LDP.
- Where specific land or buildings are identified for community development, then feu/boundary and ownership should be identified on the map wherever possible.
3.19 It was also suggested that identifying locally significant land and buildings on a map would also be useful in the context of development management decisions, ensuring that community assets are given appropriate weight in the planning process.
Issues highlighted by a mapping requirement
3.20 A number of respondents raised issues about the implications of, or area-based challenges highlighted by, including a map of the area covered by the LPP. These included that defining a boundary should not prevent that LPP from containing proposals which extend beyond its boundaries, for example relating to path networks or transport services. Particular issues relating to large urban areas were highlighted, including in relation to matters which overlap an LPP's boundary or can exist outside the area – such as infrastructure, health facilities and affordable housing. It was also noted that islands often share resources and that plans overlap, especially over transport hubs and across social work sectors. It was suggested that it should be possible to cover issues and opportunities beyond its boundaries, but which may directly affect the LPP area.
3.21 Equally, it was noted that those outwith an LPP area could be affected by the proposals set out in an LPP but that a clearly defined geographical boundary may lead a community group seeking to consult on some issues to exclude relevant local people that live outside it. An example given was in relation to a town centre and its relationship to adjacent residential areas and its rural hinterland.
3.22 There was a call for clarity and for additional guidance to address the relationship between a community's ambitions or needs and the land, infrastructure or services that fall outwith the geographical area covered by their LPP.
3.23 There were also comments about the relationship between LPP areas, including that there is a possibility that different community groups – for example a community council and a development trust – may request LPP boundaries which overlap. One option proposed was for regulations or guidance to identify that for any area there should be only one lead community group, preferably a community council. The guidance could then set out that the lead community group can produce the LPP, either themselves or in collaboration with another community group.
3.24 It was suggested that if LPPs are produced that have areas that overlap, the regulations need to set out a clear procedure for the planning authority and the lead community councils or groups to collaborate. The regulations or guidance should:
- Require LPPs to avoid duplication.
- Encourage visions and actions that complement each other.
- Set out the process for resolving or objecting to any 'competing' content. This could include identifying independent bodies or mediators available to advise on this and setting out any appeal process, specifying when this should be referred to the planning authority and situations when it can be referred to the Scottish Government.
3.25 With reference to the potential role of 'additional information' being submitted alongside the LPP, one view was that this is not a helpful distinction and has the potential to create misunderstanding over what constitutes part of an LPP and what does not.
3.26 Very much reflecting points made about the Statement, others suggested information that should or could be set out, including:
- A description of the consultation activities that have been undertaken, including with local councillors, and how this consultation has informed the LPP (covered in greater detail at Questions 4 and 5).
- How the LPP fits with any Locality Plan or LOIP and how it interacts with the LDP.
- A statement indicating how the proposals of an LPP will be delivered. This should, at a minimum, indicate who is the lead on the project action, supporting partners, funding and timescale for delivery.
3.27 In relation to how the proposals would or could be delivered, it was suggested that this information would help ensure readers and users of the LPP understand where proposals are already likely to be delivered and where additional support will be required. Specific suggestions included that community bodies could provide information about:
- Any agreement in principle from landowners or whether potential development partners have been identified.
- Whether any of the proposals could be delivered through developer contributions if LDP policy prioritised their use for that purpose.
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