Call for Evidence on the Planning (Scotland) Bill

The Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Communities Committee has today, Friday 15 December, launched a call for written evidence on the Planning (Scotland) Bill. 

The Planning (Scotland) Bill was introduced into Parliament by the Scottish Government on 4 December. The Scottish Government explains that the Bill will improve the system of development planning, giving people a greater say in the future of their places and support delivery of planned development. 

What does the Bill propose to do? 

The documents accompanying the Bill set out more information on how the Bill will work, the consultation and consideration of alternatives undertaken in relation to the Bills proposals and the costs of the Bill.  There are 5 key parts to the Bill which are summarised as:

  • Part 1 relates to development planning and includes changes to the National Planning Framework, Scottish Planning Policy, Strategic Development Plans, Local Development Plans and includes a new right for communities to produce their own plans for their places.
  • Part 2 makes provision for simplified development zones, which will front load scrutiny of potential development sites, delivering consents through zoning of land;
  • Part 3 makes changes to the development management process (such as changes to the planning application process, appropriate local consultations and local decision making);
  • Part 4 deals with changes required to support effective performance across a range of planning functions including enforcement, charging of fees, performance improvement and training; and
  • Part 5 makes provision for the introduction of an infrastructure levy payable to local authorities and linked to development.

The Scottish Government has provided simplified flowcharts to help explain how the Bill proposes to change development planning and the preparation of local development plans. These can be found here:

Scottish Government Flowcharts

Other documents include:

Accompanying Documents
Financial Memorandum
Equality Impact Assessment
Business Regulatory Impact Assessment (once completed)
Islands Proofing Statement
Children’s Rights and Welfare Impact Assessment

How can I give my views?

Organisations and individuals are invited to submit written evidence to the Committee setting out their views on the Planning (Scotland) Bill.  Those views will then inform the Committee’s scrutiny of the Bill.

The Committee recognises that for some their views of the planning system will be informed by their personal experiences. In responding to the Committee you may however wish to note that the Committee will not become involved in or investigate individual cases or specific planning applications. In those circumstances you may wish to focus your written evidence on the Bill and how it is likely to improve the planning system.

The Committee invites views on any aspect of the Bill but it would be helpful if written submissions could address the following questions:

1.    Do you think the Bill, taken as a whole, will produce a planning system for Scotland that balances the need to secure the appropriate development with the views of communities and protection of the built and natural environment?

2.    To what extent will the proposals in the Bill result in higher levels of new house building?  If not, what changes could be made to help further increase house building?

3.    Do the proposals in Bill create a sufficiently robust structure to maintain planning at a regional level following the ending of Strategic Development Plans and, if not, what needs to be done to improve regional planning?

4.    Will the changes in the Bill to the content and process for producing Local Development Plans achieve the aims of creating plans that are focussed on delivery, complement other local authority priorities and meet the needs of developers and communities?  If not, what other changes would you like to see introduced?

5.    Would Simplified Development Zones balance the need to enable development with enough safeguards for community and environmental interests?

6.    Does the Bill provide more effective avenues for community involvement in the development of plans and decisions that affect their area? Will the proposed Local Place Plans enable communities to influence local development plans and does the Bill ensure adequate financial and technical support for community bodies wishing to develop local place plans?  If not, what more needs to be done?

7.    Will the proposed changes to enforcement (such as increased level of fines and recovery of expenses) promote better compliance with planning control and, if not, how these could provisions be improved?

8.    Is the proposed Infrastructure Levy the best way to secure investment in new infrastructure from developers, how might it impact on levels of development?  Are there any other ways (to the proposed Levy) that could raise funds for infrastructure provision in order to provide services and amenities to support land development?  Are there lessons that can be learned from the Infrastructure Levy as it operates in England?

9.    Do you support the requirement for local government councillors to be trained in planning matters prior to becoming involved in planning decision making?  If not, why not?

10. Will the proposals in the Bill aimed at monitoring and improving the performance of planning authorities help drive performance improvements?

11. Will the changes in the Bill to enable flexibility in the fees charged by councils and the Scottish Government (such as charging for or waiving fees for some services) provide enough funding for local authority planning departments to deliver the high –performing planning system the Scottish Government wants?  If not, what needs to change? 

12. Are there any other comments you would like to make about the Bill?

The closing date for receipt of submissions is 2 February 2018.

How to submit your evidence

Submissions should be limited to no more than six pages of A4. Responses should be sent, wherever possible, electronically and in MS Word format to the following email address: [email protected].

Before submitting your evidence please read the Parliament’s policy on treatment of written evidence by subject and mandatory committees (see below). Responses can also be sent by post to: Clerk to the Local Government and Communities Committee Office Room T3.60 Scottish Parliament Edinburgh EH99 1SP.

Written submissions will be made public on the Committee’s webpage. If you do not wish your response to be made public, please contact the clerks to discuss (you may wish to refer to the Parliament’s policy on handling information received in response to calls for evidence).

The Committee welcomes written evidence in English, Gaelic or any other language.

If you have any further questions regarding the Committee’s work on this inquiry, please contact the Committee clerking team at the above e-mail address or call 0131 348 6037.

Using your comments for committee evidence

If you submit a contribution to us in response to a call for evidence it is likely to be published and available to the public online along with your name and possibly archived for permanent preservation.

To find out more about how we will treat your comments for committee evidence, please read our treatment of written evidence policy.

This policy also tells you how the Freedom of Information legislation applies to contributions to this site, what to do if you want your contribution to be anonymous, and the limitations on confidentiality.

Read our Treatment of Written Evidence Policy.

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