40. The importance attached to open space in the strategy and development plans should be reflected in development management decisions. The credibility of the planning system can be significantly undermined when policies on the protection and provision of open space are set aside in development management decisions without sound and clear justification, particularly where planning authorities have an interest in the land.
41. Pre-application discussions can help to explore the issues associated with open space provision and management at an early stage. A design statement from the developer can help communicate the factors that have been taken into account in preparing the layout and design of the project. They can be particularly helpful in the context of speculative applications.
42. Planning agreements or bonds are often used to secure financial contributions from developers for open space provision or enhancement. Planning conditions or agreements can also be used to ensure that maintenance is put in place. Agreements must be reasonable and relevant to the proposed development. Further guidance on the use of planning agreements can be found in SODD Circular 12/1996: Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1972: Planning Agreements.
Developer contributions may be either contributions made to the local authority towards capital investment or a one-off payment to fund a stream of revenue payments - usually for the maintenance of an open space for a number of years. Such payments are often referred to as commuted sums and are generally calculated as a multiple of the annual maintenance cost. Where relevant, the development plan should set out the multipliers for commuted sums.