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Report on Planning (Scotland) Bill 17/05/2018 The Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Communities Committee has set out recommendations to strengthen the Planning (Scotland) Bill.

Report on Planning (Scotland) Bill

The Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Communities Committee has set out recommendations to strengthen the Planning (Scotland) Bill, while recognising that it has the potential to improve the planning process overall.

The Bill aims to streamline the system of development planning, support delivery of planned developments and includes a new right for communities to produce their own plans for their local areas called Local Place Plans.

Key recommendations in the Committee report include:

  • A call for the Bill to include a purpose for planning to provide greater certainty to communities and developers, and encourage more meaningful engagement on planning applications, Local Place Plans and Local Development Plans.
  • While the Committee welcomes that planning authorities must “take account of” Local Place Plans, it is concerned that, without further support, disadvantaged communities will be considerably less likely to take advantage of Local Place Plans due to a lack of capacity, time and resources. This will widen inequality.
  • The Committee expressed concern that the Bill proposals don’t go far enough to address planning frustrations felt by many communities. It believes that in a plan-led system, appeals should only be allowed in certain circumstances and urges the Scottish Government to look at these issues.
  • The Committee recognises that music venues make an important contribution to Scotland and it is unreasonable for those moving into a new development to complain about pre-existing noise levels. It recommends that Agent of Change – a principle that puts the onus on developers to mitigate pre-existing noise impacts – should be included within the Bill.

“A clear theme running through our report is the importance of empowering communities to have a meaningful say on the kind of place they want to live in. Communities being able to help shape their area by working with planning authorities early on makes for better places,” said Local Government and Communities Committee Convener, Bob Doris MSP. “It remains the case that more disadvantaged communities could lose out on shaping their local areas because of a lack of money, time and capacity, which we think may widen inequality. That’s why we’ve called for communities to be supported so that planning works for everyone.”

The report can be found here.

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