The start of a new year brought with it anticipation of the Government’s White Paper detailing the proposed reforms to the Scottish planning system. Unfortunately, we’re not quite there yet with the Scottish Government instead issuing a further consultation document ‘Places, people and planning a consultation on the future of the Scottish planning system’.
Setting out proposals for change and reform of the planning system, the document proposes 20 recommendations under the four key topic headings of:
- Making plans for the future;
- People make the system work;
- Building more homes and delivering infrastructure; and
- Stronger leadership and smarter resourcing.
The proposals build on recommendations of the independent review of the planning system carried out by an expert panel in May 2016.
The consultation programme opened on Tuesday 10th January 2017 and will run until 4th April 2017. Thereafter, analysis of the responses will be undertaken and published within 12 weeks of the consultation closing (by 27th June 2017).
Ryden’s Planning team is currently carefully reviewing this latest consultation document and will provide further insight and consider what it means for the future of the Scottish planning system.
Two other important planning related consultation programmes are also running concurrently, namely barriers to community involvement in planning and raising planning fees, which were also borne out of the independent panel review last May.
An online survey is being used for the consultation on barriers to engagement and closes on 13th January 2017. This area is a contentious matter and one with the potential to counter longstanding efforts to streamline and create a more efficient planning system. Indeed, the survey considers the prospect that engagement should be undertaken by ‘independent facilitators answerable to the community’ and whether there is still a need for ‘balanced rights of appeal’.
The consultation on increasing planning fees closes on 27th February 2017. This proposes that fees for major applications should be increased substantially with a new fee maximum of £125,000 for most categories of development (£62,500 for applications for planning permission in principle). Planning performance is a contentious issue within the development industry generally and significant increases to planning application fees must be related to tangible improvement in performance.
Ryden’s Planning team is also monitoring these consultations carefully and will report on the outcomes.