Scotland’s planning system failing large developments

Time taken to decide major decide major housing developments was almost 18 weeks slower in Q1 2016/17 than the previous quarter. For the 61 decisions made on major developments the average decision time was 39.3 weeks.

This was 13 weeks slower than the previous quarter (26.3 weeks) and more than five weeks slower than the equivalent quarter in 2015/16 (34.2 weeks).

“These figures show that Scotland’s planning system is becoming less well equipped to deal with applications for major housing developments, which are key to providing the thousands of homes which our growing population desperately needs,” said Tammy Adams, Homes for Scotland’s (HFS) Head of Planning. “The delivery of these homes should be seen as a golden thread running through the planning system but, with average decision times slowing to 48.3 weeks, this is simply not the case.

“These statistics confirm the urgent need to ensure the planning system responds effectively to address Scotland’s significant housing shortfall. It must do better to support the Scottish Government’s aspiration to see a significant increase in home building to ensure housing requirements are met across the country – and enable it to meet the First Minister’s ambition of delivering 50,000 new affordable homes over the course of this Parliament.”

However, the quarterly statistics showed faster average decision times for local developments to the previous quarter and previous year. In quarter one of 2016/17 there were 7,329 decisions made on local developments with an average decision time of 8.9 weeks.

This was almost one and a half weeks quicker than the previous quarter (10.3 weeks), five days faster than the equivalent quarter in 2015/16 (9.6 weeks), and the quickest average decision time since the start of this data collection in quarter one of 2012/13.

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