In September 2015, an independent panel was appointed by Scottish Ministers to review the Scottish planning system. The panel were tasked with bringing together ideas to achieve a quicker, more accessible and efficient planning process.
“From the outset, it was clear to us that the main structure of our planning system is not broken,” the panel said in a statement. “However, it was also clear that for the potential of planning to be realised, a strong commitment to change existing practices and culture, and to re-focus the profession’s improvement agenda will be required.”
The review focussed on six themes, namely: development planning; housing delivery; planning for infrastructure; development management; leadership, resourcing and skills; and community engagement.
“Our report builds on these themes and proposes a package of measures for change,” the panel said. “Some of the recommendations represent large scale, and in our view, game changing, proposals. Others are smaller scale improvements to ensure existing processes are as effective as possible. Some would require legislative change, others could be done quickly and easily with collective buy in and co-operation and embed a culture of inclusion.”
Recommendations include measures to ensure strong and flexible development plans; the delivery of more high quality homes; an infrastructure-first approach to planning and development; efficient and transparent development management; stronger leadership, smarter resourcing and sharing of skills; collaboration rather than conflict – inclusion and empowerment.
The Scottish Government is now considering the recommendations put forward by the panel and will publish its response in due course.