New legislation to improve planning system

Man looking at architectural drawings
Norette Ferns

Local Government Minister Kevin Stewart has set out new legislation aimed to simplify and improve the planning system in Scotland.

The Planning (Scotland) Bill was introduced on 4 December and will create a new structure with clearer development plans, earlier engagement with communities, streamlined procedures and smarter resourcing.

Mr Stewart said:

"Scotland’s economy needs a world-class planning system. Our planning system must take a strong and confident lead in securing the development of great places that will stand the test of time and this Bill will encourage more people to play an active role in shaping these.

"In addition to restructuring and simplifying the system to provide greater certainty for investors and communities alike it will reflect the importance of development and infrastructure to achieve our ambitions for housing, schools and regeneration – creating jobs and generating economic growth.

"Performance improvement will be formalised so applicants can rely on receiving a consistent service and local authorities will have greater powers to charge for their services. In short, this Bill will reduce bureaucracy so that planners are better equipped to lead high-quality developments that support the economy and enhance our communities."

Chair of the Scottish Alliance of People and Places, Rt. Hon. Henry McLeish, said:

"We welcome the Scottish Government's ambition to create a more innovative and inclusive planning system that puts people at the heart of decisions about their local communities. Planning the places in which we live and work is fundamental to our social and economic wellbeing, and it is vital we reach out to communities and empower them to actively participate in the decisions that affect their lives.

"This Bill represents a real opportunity to be bold and ambitious, and present a positive, forward looking vision for our planning system, rather than simply making technical changes to policy."

You can find out more about the Planning Bill and reform of the planning system on the Scottish Government website.

Visit the Scottish Parliament website for more information about the Bill.