‘Urgent debate’ needed over planning funding

RTPI Scotland is calling for an ‘urgent debate’ on how planning departments are going to be funded in future after warning that departments may need up to £59 million over the next decade to  comply with duties contained in the new planning act.

The organisation has published research outlining 49 ‘new and unfunded’ duties on planning authorities, with estimated costs of between £12.2 million and £59.1 million to deliver. 

RTPI Scotland said planning departments are already under financial pressures, due to a loss of staff and reduced budgets. 

Julia Frost, RTPI Scotland convenor said, “This analysis shows that we need significant investment in planning services just to make sure that they comply with the law. 

“This, combined with the fact that planning has suffered budget cuts more severely than other local government functions, means that we need an open and honest debate on how we resource planning services in the future. 

“If we don’t give planners the time and resources to process planning applications, and proactively create plans for the future, we won’t be able to build new homes, regenerate our town centres or protect our most valuable landscapes and buildings.”

 RTPI Scotland’s research calls on the Scottish Government to consider the costs of implementing each of the new duties; agree a resource plan when introducing them through secondary legislation or guidance; and be clear about where funding will come from to support communities to prepare Local Place Plans.

The new research also calls on local authorities to ensure that any revenue generated from processing planning applications is reinvested in the planning service.