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Independent review for planning in Scotland

Published: 17 Sep 2015 12:45

Panel to bring forward ideas to reform planning sector.

An independent panel has been set up to carry out a game-changing review of Scotland's planning system, Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil announced today.

The three person panel, chaired by Crawford Beveridge, will be tasked with bringing together ideas to achieve a quicker, more accessible and efficient planning process.

Mr Beveridge will work together with Petra Biberbach of Planning Aid Scotland (PAS) and John Hamilton of the Scottish Property Federation. The individual panel members are widely respected for their expertise and will bring a good range of experience to the review which will consider six key issues:

  • Development planning;
  • Housing delivery;
  • Planning for infrastructure;
  • Further improvements to development management;
  • Leadership, resourcing and skills; and
  • Community engagement.

Mr Neil said:

"I'm delighted to announce the independent panel for the planning review and the members who will be able to provide an objective and strategic perspective.

"There has already been significant planning performance improvement as a result of previous modernisation, but I believe that more can be done by all stakeholders so planning plays a more positive and effective role in creating high quality places for current and future generations, while respecting local democracy.

"As set out in the Programme for Government, published earlier this month, this review will look at wide-ranging issues affecting the planning system, including how planning is resourced and how we can streamline and improve our system in Scotland. It will aim to increase delivery of high quality housing developments, by delivering a quicker, more accessible and efficient process, and it will reinforce our commitment to a fair and open planning system that works for everyone, especially local communities.

"There will be opportunities for all stakeholders to play a positive role in the process to ensure their views are heard and taken into account and I encourage everyone to get involved in this review.

"The panel's findings will drive our continuing work to ensure planning does all it can to support sustainable economic growth across the country."

Following the independent review, which is due to report in Spring 2016, Scottish Ministers will look to work closely with COSLA, Heads of Planning Scotland and all those with an interest in the planning system, to take forward a reform programme that will be informed by the findings of the review.

Cllr Stephen Hagan, COSLA Spokesperson for Planning said:

"Last month I had a lively and highly constructive debate on planning modernisation with council leaders. The issues covered included the need to strengthen local democracy through the planning system, the need to integrate and not centralise the local planning process and the cost of resourcing the planning system locally.

"Leaders agreed there is a lot that needs to change in policy, practice and perception terms with planning locally. We all have a part to play in delivering positive change for our local communities.

"COSLA therefore welcome the proposal by the Cabinet Secretary for a further consultation on the modernisation of Planning legislation and regulation by an independent panel and will play a full and constructive part in the review."