The RTPI Scotland today welcomed the Scottish Government’s announcement that it will seek to simplify and strengthen the planning system with a White Paper later this year and a Planning Bill in 2017.
The announcement follows the completion of a ‘route and branch’ independent review of the planning system, the findings of which were published in May.
Pam Ewen, Immediate Past Convenor RTPI Scotland, said:
“We are pleased to see the Scottish Government building on the momentum of the independent planning review. It is especially encouraging to see our objectives, highlighted in our evidence to the review, strongly reflected in the Minister’s aspirations for a reformed planning system.
“The Scottish Government clearly shares our ambition for a pro-active and delivery focused planning system, which results in the high quality homes and infrastructure that Scotland needs.
“It is very positive that the Minister emphasises the role of collaboration in achieving this. This means collaboration not just between those currently involved in planning, but extending across Ministerial portfolios. To achieve its potential, it is essential that spatial planning is a priority corporate function of Government at all scales, and working across portfolios will help to achieve this.
"Collaboration will lead to a greater understanding of the potential of planning, while realising this potential means resourcing planning properly. We therefore welcome the Scottish Government’s intention to consult on enhanced planning fees, and to work with Planning Authorities and the RTPI on maximising skills and resources.
“This is an opportunity to maximise the efficiency of our planning system and for our profession to help shape that change. Many of the immediate actions within the report are focused on simplifying the planning system, addressing skills, resources and fees and the intention not to introduce extended rights of appeal.
“Whether the White Paper will set out game changers as initially envisaged remains to be seen. The infrastructure challenge facing the country in particular is an area which requires fundamental review. We will not see the new homes that we need built unless we prioritise the infrastructure that is essential to support them. An approach to infrastructure delivery is expected to be included within the White Paper. The RTPI Scotland therefore looks forward to working with the Scottish Government and other stakeholders to establish how we will deliver the planning system and the infrastructure that a modern Scotland demands.”