The Planning etc. (Scotland) Bill was passed on the 16 November and is expected to receive Royal Assent in December.  The Bill introduces some of the most fundamental changes to the Scottish planning system in 60 years, as well as being one of the most complicated pieces of legislation to pass through The Scottish Parliament. 

The key features of the Act are

  • Introducing a hierarchy into the planning system of national, major, local or minor significance.  Applications will be dealt with differently depending on where they fall in this hierarchy.
  • Ensuring that the next National Planning Framework, which will set out how the development and use of land should occur, can deliver developments of national importance.
  • Quicker processing of major developments.
  • For some applications appeals will be devolved to a local level.
  • There is a statutory duty for development plans to be updated every five years.
  • Encouraging community participation in developments and planning ensuring community views are taken into consideration.
  • New measures so that planning authorities can deal more effectively with planning control.

During the passage of this contoversial Bill through Parliament many aspects of it meet with criticism.  The Green Party wanted more parliamentary and public scrutiny of the National Planning Framework and objected to the decision to omit Third Party Right of Appeal. 

Third Party Right of Appeal was one of the most contentious subjects.  The Greens believed that developers had more rights of appeal than local residents or NGOs and tabled an amendment at Stage 3 to grant Third Party Right of Appeal when a development plan is out of date.  The Greens amendment was rejected in the debate by 77 to 35 with one abstention.

For a more detailed analysis of the Planning (Scotland) Act read what Ewan Macleod and Fraser Mitchell of Shepherd and Wedderburn's Planning and Environment  Group have to say in the November edition of our Property E-bulletin.


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