Local place plans - proposals for regulations: consultation

This consultation paper relates to proposals for regulations on the content, preparation, submission and registration of Local Place Plans.

Proposals for Regulations on Local Place Plans


1. This consultation paper relates to proposals for regulations on Local Place Plans (LPPs).

2. The regulations are part of our wider work on planning reform and implementation of the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019[1] (the 2019 Act), including steps to reduce conflict, improve community engagement and build public trust in planning matters. Other measures, also introduced by changes made by the 2019 Act, include: enhancements to community engagement in local development plans; the introduction of guidance on the promotion and use of mediation; and amendments to legislation around pre-application consultation with communities on major and national planning applications.

3. The Scottish Government has already laid regulations on amendments to pre-application consultation arrangements and consulted on draft guidance on the promotion and use of mediation. We will also consult on draft effective community engagement guidance on local development plans later in 2021.

4. Local Place Plans offer the opportunity for a community led, but collaborative, approach to creating great local places. LPPs can support community aspirations on the big challenges for a future Scotland such as responding to the global climate emergency and tackling inequalities. It is vital that local people have the opportunity to engage meaningfully and have a positive influence in the future planning of development in their areas.

5. The National Performance Framework[2] includes the outcome that 'people live in communities that are inclusive, empowered, resilient and safe'. It recognises that communities are shaped by the quality and character of the places we live in and the people we live among. The accompanying vision encourages people to volunteer, take responsibility for their community and engage with decisions about it.

6. The Place Principle[3] promotes a shared understanding of place, and the need to take a more collaborative approach to a place's services and assets to achieve better outcomes for people and communities. The principle requests that all those responsible for providing services and looking after assets in a place need to work and plan together, and with local communities, to improve the lives of people, support inclusive and sustainable economic growth and create more successful places.

7. Scotland's public health priorities[4] recognises that the places we live, work and play,the connections we have with others, and the extent to which we feel able to influence the decisions that affect us – all have a significant impact on our health and wellbeing.

8. The Social Capital in Scotland Report[5] examined social connections within Scottish communities and what can be done to make communities stronger and more inclusive. It concluded that people, across the whole population, need to be involved more strongly in decisions about their communities. More recently the report of the Social Renewal Advisory Board[6] published 20 Calls to Action to help create a fairer country. These Calls for Action include recommending ashift in the balance of power so individuals and communities have more control over decisions that affect their lives.

9. People are keen to shape the places that they live, work and play. A range of research and studies have shown, for example, that:

  • over three-quarters (78 per cent) of adults felt a very or fairly strong sense of belonging to their neighbourhood, with older people and women more likely to report a strong sense of belonging to their neighbourhood[7];
  • children and young people want to be involved in decisions about the places they live[8];
  • the majority of young people feel they should be involved in planning in their local area and that their local councils should look at ways to support children and young people to do this[9];
  • Young Gypsy/Travellers said that there 'should be more opportunities for us to take part in decision making and have our voices heard'[10];
  • many islanders expressed a desire for more considered decision-making which included them[11]; and
  • 97% of disabled people or those with a long-term illness considered that people should be involved in making decisions about how local public services are planned[12].

10. But we also understand that language barriers, lack of confidence and dominant characters can discriminate against some people during community engagement; specifically women, minority ethnic groups, young and old people and people with disabilities[13]. Andin 2019, only 18% of adults felt they could influence decisions in their local area. This had decreased significantly from 24% of adults in 2015[14].

Community Led Plans

11. Communities are well placed to express their aspirations for the future of their local places. Many have already been actively involved in shaping the places where they stay through community-led design processes leading to the preparation of community-led plans. These processes can take a variety of forms from small workshops to large scale community-led design events. An evaluation[15] of community-led design initiatives supported by the Scottish Government sets out the benefits and learning points on this type of community-led design work. It is very positive that people haven't waited for LPP provisions to come into force, but have continued to develop their aspirations for their communities.

12. Throughout the review of planning, many stakeholders as well as an independent review panel emphasised the importance of giving a firmer commitment to early and effective engagement in the planning process. It was considered critical that planning reflects the views and aspirations of the communities it seeks to serve. Equally, it is important that LPPs support, rather than undermine, the Local Development Plan (LDP) as a statutory decision making document.

13. Improving community involvement in the planning system was a key aim of planning reform[16] from the outset. The independent planning review recommended that communities should be empowered to bring forward their own LPPs, and these should form part of the development plan[17].

14. Examples of community led plans can be found across Scotland. As well as generating them for themselves, communities have received support from a range of public and third sector organisations to produce plans in many different forms.

15. From 2011 to 2019, the Scottish Government Charrette Mainstreaming Programme[18] and Making Places initiative supported 99 community-led design processes or design charrettes. A number of case studies (Foxbar, Cumnock, Buckhaven) were identified in research undertaken by Scottish Community Development Centre (SCDC) / Nick Wright[19]. Other communities have been supported by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust[20], PAS[21], or through direct community action, with a number of planning authorities such as City of Edinburgh Council[22], East Ayrshire Council[23] and Shetland Council[24] supporting community interest. A number have been recognised in the Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning (Craignish, Fort William, Foxbar, Newmills). 'How to' guides have been prepared by Renfrewshire Council[25] and PAS[26]. Other linked projects include SURF (Scotland's Regeneration Network) Alliance for Action[27] programme. The work of the Linlithgow Planning Forum[28] has also been noted, as have examples from the community development sector[29]. West Dunbartonshire Council[30] has been proactive in setting out criteria for adopting 'Locality Place Plans' as Supplementary Guidance. This list is not exhaustive.


16. In summer 2019 the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 was passed by the Scottish Parliament. Section 14 of the Act amends the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 to introduce a new right for communities to produce Local Place Plans for their places, with scope for these plans, or parts of them, to become a part of the LDP. The aim is to significantly enhance engagement in development planning, effectively empowering communities to play a proactive role in defining the future of their places by setting out their proposals for the use and development of land.

17. LPPs may be prepared by a community body. A community body is defined as ether:

(a) a community-controlled body within the definition given in section 19 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015; or

(b) a community council established in accordance with Part 4 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973.

18. The 2019 Act introduced a specific reference that LPPs may also identify land and buildings that the community body considers to be of particular significance to the local area.

19. In developing their LPPs, community bodies will have to have regard to both the National Planning Framework (NPF) and any relevant local development plans (LDP). The term 'development' is key when considering plan content, as LPPs are proposals as to the development and use of land.

20. The changes made by the 2019 Act provide for certain requirements on community bodies and local authorities. But it did not contain provisions for the content, preparation, submission and registration of LPPs. As these requirements were to contain a considerable level of detail, it was considered appropriate that they were dealt with through secondary legislation rather than on the face of the Act.

21. These provisions provide Ministers with powers to set out further requirements, including: any additional matters that community bodies should have regard to; the form and content of LPPs; steps to be undertaken before preparing LPPs; how to take into account the views of councillors; and steps to be undertaken when submitting LPPs.

22. In addition, local authorities will be required to keep a register of these plans in a prescribed manner and take them into account when preparing their LDPs. The provisions in the 2019 Act are not yet in force, and the timing of their commencement will be linked to the coming into force of the regulations following on from this consultation.

Developing regulations on Local Place Plans

23. This paper contains draft proposals for the framework of regulations to support the implementation of provisions relating to LPPs. The consultation paper is accompanied by partial impact assessments on: Business and Regulatory Impact; Equalities and Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact; and Island Communities Impact. In addition, we have considered the Fairer Scotland Duty plus Strategic Environmental Assessment. The outcomes of our initial assessments are contained in the annexes to this paper.

24. As we develop the regulations after this consultation, we will look at what other guidance to community bodies, planning authorities and other parties is needed. Linked with the separate development of a 'How to' guide, we plan for these to be in place on the coming into force of the secondary legislation. We plan to have these provisions in place by the end of 2021.

Overall policy framework for legislation

25. In drawing up the proposals, we have considered the following matters:

  • Deliver the policy objective to promote early engagement by communities in setting out a vision for the future development of the places they stay.
  • Local Place Plans are community led but have the potential to be supported in their development and delivery by the public and third sectors.
  • Deliver a light-touch approach in legislation, thus allowing for flexibility to suit local circumstances.
  • Whilst light-touch, the legislation and associated guidance will provide an appropriate balance, providing a robust framework for the development and consideration of LPPs.
  • The process for preparing LPPs to be defined largely by the capacity and preferences of the communities themselves, rather than introducing a fixed procedure.
  • In full or in part, community bodies may not be statutory bodies and may be staffed or run by volunteers.
  • Recognising practice which is already in place, SCDC/Nick Wright research[31] noted that 'Existing examples of good practice include LPPs that are short, clear and visual, using graphics, photographs, maps and text to communicate ideas and priorities.'
  • The manner in which legislation can be supported with effective, helpful guidance and a 'How to' Guide.

26. Though the number of stages may vary, the overall development of an LPP could follow the following process.

Stage Activity
Getting the ball rolling Involves the community body and others recognising that an LPP may add value to the community. This may be prompted by an invitation from the planning authority, but does not have to be.
Preparing the LPP Involves drawing together the evidence, and includes seeking views of the community on the key issues for the LPP, alongside the requirement to have regard to the LDP and the NPF.
Developing proposals Based on the evidence gathered what are the key issues which should be contained in the LPP.
Sense-checking the LPP Engagement with stakeholders.
Submitting the LPP Finalise the LPP and additional material. Submit to the planning authority
Registering and delivery Planning authority validation and registering of the LPP. Taken into account when developing the LDP.


Email: Chief.Planner@gov.scot

Back to top