Information

Scottish Planning Policy and Housing - technical consultation: analysis

Independent analysis of the responses to our consultation paper on Scottish Planning Policy and Housing: Technical Consultation on Proposed Policy Amendments which ran from 17 July to 9 October 2020.


Annex 2 - Proposed changes to Scottish Planning Policy (Proposed deletions/additions are highlighted in bold).

Current text:

Policy Principles

This SPP introduces a presumption in favour of development that contributes to sustainable development.

28. The planning system should support economically, environmentally and socially sustainable places by enabling development that balances the costs and benefits of a proposal over the longer term. The aim is to achieve the right development in the right place; it is not to allow development at any cost.

29. This means that policies and decisions should be guided by the following principles:

  • giving due weight to net economic benefit;
  • responding to economic issues, challenges and opportunities, as outlined in local economic strategies;
  • supporting good design and the six qualities of successful places;
  • making efficient use of existing capacities of land, buildings and infrastructure including supporting town centre and regeneration priorities;
  • supporting delivery of accessible housing, business, retailing and leisure development;
  • supporting delivery of infrastructure, for example transport, education, energy, digital and water;
  • supporting climate change mitigation and adaptation including taking account of flood risk;
  • improving health and well-being by offering opportunities for social interaction and physical activity, including sport and recreation;
  • having regard to the principles for sustainable land use set out in the Land Use Strategy;
  • protecting, enhancing and promoting access to cultural heritage, including the historic environment;
  • protecting, enhancing and promoting access to natural heritage, including green infrastructure, landscape and the wider environment;
  • reducing waste, facilitating its management and promoting resource recovery; and
  • avoiding over-development, protecting the amenity of new and existing development and considering the implications of development for water, air and soil quality.

Delivery Development Planning

30. Development plans should:

  • be consistent with the policies set out in this SPP, including the presumption in favour of development that contributes to sustainable development;
  • positively seek opportunities to meet the development needs of the plan area in a way which is flexible enough to adapt to changing circumstances over time;
  • support existing business sectors, taking account of whether they are expanding or contracting and, where possible, identify and plan for new or emerging sectors likely to locate in their area;
  • be up-to-date, place-based and enabling with a spatial strategy that is implemented through policies and proposals; and
  • set out a spatial strategy which is both sustainable and deliverable, providing confidence to stakeholders that the outcomes can be achieved.

Development Management

32. The presumption in favour of sustainable development does not change the statutory status of the development plan as the starting point for decision-making. Proposals that accord with up-to-date plans should be considered acceptable in principle and consideration should focus on the detailed matters arising. For proposals that do not accord with up-to-date development plans, the primacy of the plan is maintained and this SPP and the presumption in favour of development that contributes to sustainable development will be material considerations.

33. Where relevant policies in a development plan are out-of-date or the plan does not contain policies relevant to the proposal, then the presumption in favour of development that contributes to sustainable development will be a significant material consideration. Decision-makers should also take into account any adverse impacts which would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits when assessed against the wider policies in this SPP. The same principle should be applied where a development plan is more than five years old

Maintaining a 5 year effective housing land supply

123. Planning authorities should actively manage the housing land supply. They should work with housing and infrastructure providers to prepare an annual housing land audit as a tool to critically review and monitor the availability of effective housing land, the progress of sites through the planning process, and housing completions, to ensure a generous supply of land for house building is maintained and there is always enough effective land for at least five years. A site is only considered effective where it can be demonstrated that within five years it will be free of constraints and can be developed for housing. In remoter rural areas and island communities, where the housing land requirement and market activity are of a more limited scale, the housing land audit process may be adapted to suit local circumstances.

125. Planning authorities, developers, service providers and other partners in housing provision should work together to ensure a continuing supply of effective land and to deliver housing, taking a flexible and realistic approach. Where a shortfall in the 5 year effective housing land supply emerges, development plan policies for the supply of housing land will not be considered up-to-date, and paragraphs 32-35 will be relevant.

Glossary:

Effective housing land supply: The part of the established housing land supply which is free or expected to be free of development constraints in the period under consideration and will therefore be available for the construction of housing.

Proposed text:

Policy Principles

28. The planning system should support economically, environmentally and socially sustainable places by enabling development that balances the costs and benefits of a proposal over the longer term. The aim is to achieve the right development in the right place; it is not to allow development at any cost.

29. This means that policies and decisions should be guided by the following principles:

  • giving due weight to net economic benefit;
  • responding to economic issues, challenges and opportunities, as outlined in local economic strategies;
  • supporting good design and the six qualities of successful places;
  • making efficient use of existing capacities of land, buildings and infrastructure including supporting town centre and regeneration priorities;
  • supporting delivery of accessible housing, business, retailing and leisure development;
  • supporting delivery of infrastructure, for example transport, education, energy, digital and water;
  • supporting climate change mitigation and adaptation including taking account of flood risk;
  • improving health and well-being by offering opportunities for social interaction and physical activity, including sport and recreation;
  • having regard to the principles for sustainable land use set out in the Land Use Strategy;
  • protecting, enhancing and promoting access to cultural heritage, including the historic environment;
  • protecting, enhancing and promoting access to natural heritage, including green infrastructure, landscape and the wider environment;
  • reducing waste, facilitating its management and promoting resource recovery; and
  • avoiding over-development, protecting the amenity of new and existing development and considering the implications of development for water, air and soil quality.

Delivery Development Planning

30. Development plans should:

  • be consistent with the policies set out in this SPP;
  • positively seek opportunities to meet the development needs of the plan area in a way which is flexible enough to adapt to changing circumstances over time;
  • support existing business sectors, taking account of whether they are expanding or contracting and, where possible, identify and plan for new or emerging sectors likely to locate in their area;
  • be up-to-date, place-based and enabling with a spatial strategy that is implemented through policies and proposals; and
  • set out a spatial strategy which is both sustainable and deliverable, providing confidence to stakeholders that the outcomes can be achieved.

Maintaining a 5 year effective housing land supply

123. Planning authorities should actively manage the housing land supply. They should work with housing and infrastructure providers to prepare an annual housing land audit as a tool to critically review and monitor the availability of effective housing land, the progress of sites through the planning process, and housing completions to ensure a generous supply of land for house building is maintained and there is always enough effective land for at least 5 years. The definition of the effective housing land supply is set out in the glossary to this SPP (as amended). Housing sites should not be excluded from the effective housing land supply solely due to programming assumptions included in the Housing Land Audit. In remoter rural areas and island communities, where the housing land requirement and market activity are of a more limited scale, the housing land audit process may be adapted to suit local circumstances.

125. Planning authorities, developers, service providers and other partners in housing provision should work together to ensure a continuing supply of effective land and to deliver housing, taking a flexible and realistic approach. The extent of the forward 5 year effective land supply should be calculated by dividing the housing supply target set out in the adopted local development plan by the plan period (to identify an annual figure) and multiplying that figure by 5. That should be compared to the 5 year effective land supply, based on information collected as part of the housing land audit process. Where a shortfall in the forward 5 year effective housing land supply has been identified, this will be a relevant material consideration to be taken into account alongside other considerations as part of a balanced planning judgement. Whilst the weight to be afforded to it is a matter for decisionmakers to determine, recognising the facts and circumstances of each case, the contribution of the proposal to addressing the shortfall (in both scale and kind) should be taken into account to inform this judgement.

Glossary:

Effective housing land supply: The part of the established housing land supply comprising sites that are, or it can be demonstrated that they are capable of being, free of technical constraints including: ownership (i.e. a willing seller), physical constraints, contamination, deficit funding, infrastructure or land use within the period under consideration in normal economic circumstances.

Established housing land supply: The total housing land supply, consisting of sites in the adopted development plan, sites with planning permission for housing development and other sites with potential for housing development.

Contact

Email: spphousingconsultation@gov.scot

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