Scottish Borders Council’s planning service has reported further improvements in respect of decision making on planning applications.

In its annual report to the Scottish Government, the local authority said it is performing better than the Scottish national average for major developments, householder developments, major housing applications, local business and industry applications and all other consents.

In addition to reduced decision making timescales, the Planning Performance Framework report also highlights the range of work undertaken by the service. This includes the preparation and adoption of the Local Development Plan and other planning guidance, running the Scottish Borders Design Awards, involvement with the ongoing flood protection schemes in Selkirk and Hawick and development of a Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme bid for Jedburgh.

Councillor Ron Smith, SBC’s executive member for planning and environment, said: “Every year we continue to see improvements in the Planning Service and I commend the staff for their ongoing efforts to reduce the time it takes for applicants to get a decision. This is largely down to the groundwork that officers put in with developers and applicants prior to the submission of plans.

“It has taken a great deal of work to get to this position and further improvements are planned, as well as a review of the service as a whole to see where delivery can continue to be enhanced.”

The average time to decide planning applications fell in 2015/16, the council reported to the Scottish Government. This follows a reduction in 2014/15.

This includes a significant fall in the average time to decide major applications (eg windfarms and major housing developments), falling from 73.3 weeks in 13/14 to 30.9 weeks in 2014/15 and now to 27.6 weeks.

In addition, local non-householder developments and householder developments saw reductions in average decision-making timescales. The former reduced by over five weeks to 17.4 weeks and the latter fell from 7.7 weeks to 6.7 weeks in 2015/16.

Source: Scottish Housing News

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