Calls for planning system to improve public trust

Tammy Swift-Adams

THE Scottish Government’s Planning Bill has been described as a ‘crucial chance’ to ease the nation’s housing problems by Homes for Scotland.

The trade body, which represents the providers of most of Scotland’s new homes, has submitted its views on the proposals to the Local Government and Communities Committee.

Homes For Scotland’s director of planning Tammy Swift-Adams said, “Public trust in the planning system must be improved to increase receptiveness to home building, so we welcome the emphasis being placed on better collaboration early in the plan-making stage. Accordingly, the Evidence Reports which planning authorities will be required to present will have to demonstrate genuine engagement between planning authorities, community representatives and housing providers. The introduction of Local Place Plans could also provide an opportunity for communities to show what role they can play in articulating how Scotland’s development needs should be met.

“Any changes should be fully thought through. For example, an Infrastructure Levy may prove a useful future tool for securing the necessary infrastructure (such as roads and schools) associated with new development in a more transparent way than at present, but the detailed thinking on this is not at an advanced enough stage.  It would therefore be more logical to remove the Infrastructure Levy proposals from the Bill and set these aside for separate work.

“In light of (recent) quarterly statistics showing a good improvement on planning decision times for major housing applications achieved within the current system, we would hope to see ongoing improvements. If we can get planning reform right, good performance should be the norm and communities and home builders alike should have better trust in the process that shapes our country’s development.”