In September 2015, Alex Neil MSP announced that he had appointed an independent panel to undertake a review of the Scottish planning system. The Panel’s aim is to provide a strategic perspective of the planning system and sought views and ideas about how it could be improved.
The New Town & Broughton Community Council submitted their views in November 2015 on the current system as well as opportunities for improvement – a copy of the submission is HERE. The period for submission of written evidence is now closed. The review sought input on 6 key issues.
- Development planning;
- Housing delivery;
- Planning for infrastructure;
- Further improvements to development management;
- Leadership, resourcing and skills; and
- Community engagement.
The independent panel, chaired by Crawford Beveridge has updated its review timetable, extending the timescale to allow them to hear oral evidence from a wide range of stakeholders, with the final report now expected in May 2016. Thereafter Scottish Ministers will respond to its recommendations with a programme of work to take forward further improvements to the planning system.
Over 390 organisations and community bodies submitted their views including many other community councils across Edinburgh and beyond, Historic Environment Scotland, Edinburgh Council itself as well as The Cockburn Association. There were also a significant number of submissions form land owners, developers and other private organisations.
The panel are now considering the evidence which has been submitted. Given the high level of interest in the review, the panel were keen to provide stakeholders with a further opportunity to feed into the review process through an open online discussion forum. This is now live and will close at midday on February 8, 2016. The forum is open to all members of the public and organisations who wish to put forward their views and ideas on the six key areas, or on the planning system more generally. The forum can be accessed via : https://ideas.scotland.gov.uk/independent-review-of-planning.
To prompt further discussion, the review panel’s questions under each of the six topics are still available to view.
Although the intent of the review could be seen as aiming to “streamline” the planning process – to enable the Scottish Government to meet its ambitious housing targets, we are hopeful given the number of submissions from non-developers that the review will also highlight the various anomalies in the current system.