Documents marked with an asterisk (*) are not specifically mentioned in the text of the White Paper, but may be of general interest.
Roads (Scotland) Act 1984
For hard copies contact 0131 244 7543
Electricity Act 1989
Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997
Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997
Planning (Hazardous Substances) (Scotland) Act 1997*
Transport (Scotland) Act 2001*
Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002
Local Government in Scotland Act 2003
The Town and Country Planning (Development by Planning Authorities) (Scotland) Regulations 1981
For hard copies contact 0131 244 7543
The Town and Country Planning (Structure and Local Plans) (Scotland) Regulations 1983*
For hard copies contact 0131 244 7543
The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) (Scotland) Order 1987
The Town and Country Planning (Appeals) (Written Submissions Procedure) (Scotland) Regulations 1990*
The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Scotland) Order 1992
The Town and Country Planning (General Development Procedure) (Scotland) Order 1992
The Town and Country Planning (Inquiries Procedure) (Scotland) Rules 1997*
The Town and Country Planning Appeals (Determination by Appointed Person) (Inquiries Procedure) (Scotland) Rules 1997*
Environmental Impact Assessment (Scotland) Regulations 1999
The Environmental Information Regulations 2004
The Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes (Scotland) Regulations 2004*
Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Bill
Transport (Scotland) Bill *
All documents are available to view at www.scotland.gov.uk/planning
Getting Involved in Planning: A Consultation Paper (2001)
Summary of Evidence (2002)
Perception of the Wider Public (2002)
Analysis of Consultation Responses (2002)
Digest of Responses to consultation (2002)
Modernising Public Local Inquiries: A Consultation Paper (2003)
Analysis of Consultation Responses (2004)
Digest of Responses to Consultation Paper (2004)
Making Development Plans Deliver: A Consultation Paper (2004)
Responses to Consultation (2004)
Analysis of Consultation Responses (2004)
Review of Strategic Planning (2001)
Analysis of Responses (2002)
Conclusions and Next Steps (2002)
Rights of Appeal in Planning: A Consultation Paper (2004)
Analysis of Consultation Responses (2004)
Digest of Non-Confidential Consultation Responses (2004)
Tree Preservation Orders: Consultation Paper (2004) Overview of Consultation Responses (2005)
A full list of published guidance documents is available to view at www.scotland.gov.uk/planning. Many of these are available to read in full.
Circular 12/1996: The Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1972 - Planning Agreements
Circular 4/1997: Notification of Planning Applications
Circular 1/1998 (amended by 7/1998): The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) (Scotland) Order 1997*
Circular 17/1998: Tribunals and Inquiries Act 1992: Planning and Compulsory Purchase Order Inquiries and Hearings - Procedures and Good Practice*
Circular 4/1999: Planning Enforcement*
Circular 15/1999: The Environmental Impact Assessment (Scotland) Regulations 1999*
Circular 1/2000: Code of Practice for Planning Appeals and Other Planning Cases Determined by Written Submissions*
Scottish Planning Policy SPP 1: The Planning System (2002)
Scottish Planning Policy SPP 20: Role of Architecture and Design Scotland (2005)
Designing Places: A Policy Statement for Scotland (2001)
The National Planning Framework for Scotland (2004)
PAN 37: Structure Planning (Revised 1996)*
PAN 40: Development Control (Revised March 2001)*
PAN 49: Local Planning (1996)*
PAN 54: Planning Enforcement (1999)
PAN 58: Environmental Impact Assessment (1999)*
Environmental Assessment of Development Plans - Interim Planning Advice (2003)*
Other Policies, GUIDANCE and research
All documents are available to view at www.scotland.gov.ukAppendix Two:
Rural Scotland: A New Approach (2000)
Framework for Economic Development in Scotland (2000)
A Partnership for a Better Scotland: Partnership Agreement (2003)
Your Place, Your Plan, A White Paper on Public Involvement in Planning (2003)
National Waste Plan (2003)
The Interaction Between Land Use Planning and Environmental Regulation (2004)
Sixth Annual Report of the Planning Audit Unit (2004)
A Smart, Successful Scotland (2004)
The UK's Shared Framework for Sustainable Development, One future - different paths (2005)
Planning and Public Policy
An effective planning system is fundamental to the delivery of most public policy strategies, objectives and commitments, and to the achievement of quality solutions. This is every bit as true at a local level, as at a national one. Some examples of policies particularly affected are:
Economic Growth - A planning system that provides certainty and predictability in its outcomes, and is efficient in the way it draws up development plans and processes applications, can make a major contribution towards economic growth.
Sustainable Development - The planning system can help deliver sustainable development by considering both long-term consequences and short-term effects and promoting the most sustainable option. The planning system can promote the prudent use of natural resources, and encourage energy efficiency through the good quality layout and design of development. It can also promote development on previously developed sites to help protect key environmental resources.
Community Planning - While community planning aims to provide the over-arching framework at the local authority level for improving the delivery of public services, the planning system will have a key role in delivering those elements of the community plan which impact on land use and development. Where community planning identifies a need for improved health or education facilities, incorporation of specific projects into development plans will ensure proper consideration of their impact, for example, on the local environment or transport systems. As community planning develops, better integration of plans and associated processes will provide scope for greater co-ordination of community engagement on key public service and land use matters.
Social Justice and Inclusion - Planning should both promote social justice and provide an example of a truly inclusive decision-making process. Planning is a tool that can help deliver outcomes that promote regeneration of deprived areas, create mixed communities, stimulate economic growth and opportunity, and aid the creation and maintenance of pleasant, healthy, safe and crime-free environments. It should always give the public the opportunity to influence the future development of their communities, and ensure that their voice is heard and considered.
Transport - Planning and transport are inextricably linked. It is essential for the economy of Scotland that the labour force has easy access to places of employment and that raw materials, components and finished products can be transported efficiently. This can only be delivered through the combination of a good transport system that supports economic growth and a strong planning system that ensures development decisions take full account of their impact on the transport system.
Good planning can also encourage a more integrated, sustainable and inclusive transport system, by directing development to the locations most accessible by public transport. This will also help reduce the need for people to travel in the course of their daily routine. Finally, we have also made it clear that a Transport Assessment is required for certain developments, with the outline of a Green Travel Plan to be considered as negotiations continue on these applications.
Energy - The Electricity Act (1989) among other matters governs decisions about the location and design of major electricity installations. This Act applies to the whole of Great Britain as energy policy is not devolved. Under the provisions of Section 36 of the Act, however, Scottish Ministers are required to take decisions about the location and design of electricity generating stations, while Section 37 governs consent for overhead lines. In the immediate future, many such decisions will be required in relation to renewable energy, particularly in respect of wind farm proposals and associated electricity grid upgrades. Smaller windfarms of capacity under 50 MW are dealt with by the planning authority under the planning system.
Through the provisions of Section 36, Scottish Ministers would also be required to decide on any proposals to build new nuclear energy installations. The stated policy of the Executive is, however, that Ministers will not support new nuclear power stations while related waste management issues remain unresolved. There are no proposals in this White Paper which seek to alter that position. Nor would any of our proposals change any procedures in relation to nuclear power stations. These would remain under the procedure for Electricity Act consents, whereby an objection by the planning authority within whose area the development would take place (the relevant planning authority) would automatically trigger an Inquiry. There is no provision in this process for appeal by any party.
The National Planning Framework, in its role as a vehicle for identifying key national developments will be informed by Scotland's future needs for renewable and non-nuclear energy generation. The National Planning Framework will not, however, confer consent for any single new installation: development proposals will, as now, be taken forward through a process involving consultation, application, and any necessary hearings and inquiries.
The Scottish Executive is committed to reviewing planning policy on renewable energy developments. The review will consider how best the Executive's renewable energy targets can continue to be delivered. The review will also consider the need for a spatial framework for wind energy and will be informed by the work of the Environmental Advisory Forum for Renewable Energy. The National Planning Framework will reflect any revised planning policy on renewable energy.
Rural Policy - Scotland's rural areas are a unique resource. Scottish Ministers' ambitions for rural Scotland were set out in ' Rural Scotland - A New Approach'. Our goal is to have a prosperous rural economy, with a stable or increasing population that is more balanced in terms of age structure and where rural communities have access to good quality services. The National Planning Framework highlighted the importance of environmental stewardship and economic diversification, while a substantial package of planning policy and advice was issued in January 2005 to progress our aspirations for rural Scotland.
European Legislation - European Union policy, particularly policy relating to the environment, has both direct and indirect effects on the planning system. EC legislation is an additional way of ensuring that sustainability remains at the heart of public policy making, but also that information on the environmental aspects of plans and strategies is widely available.
Greater awareness of the role the planning system can play in delivering public policy commitments does not mean excessive centralisation. It means each level of Government drawing up policies in an integrated and rational way, and being aware of the potential of planning to facilitate delivery.
Detail Of Application Process For National Developments
National Developments: Application Process
Where applications for national developments come forward, we envisage a new process for their determination.
Once the planning authority is satisfied that it is in receipt of all necessary papers (as prescribed by regulations) associated with the planning application, including accompanying plans, and any relevant supporting statements, it shall submit a notice and copy of the application form, within 5 days of receipt, to Scottish Ministers. The applicant would require to be notified by the planning authority that this has taken place. The authority will then be required to carry out the normal statutory consultations on the application, as prescribed in secondary legislation.
Once the statutory period for consultation responses has expired, the planning authority will be required to formally notify the application to Scottish Ministers by passing a copy of the case file to them. This will ensure that Scottish Ministers are in possession of all the relevant information before taking any subsequent steps. Scottish Ministers will be able to consider the details of the case when consultations are being carried out and will have powers to call-in the application at any time. In practice, however, we would expect Scottish Ministers only to take the decision to call-in an application after the statutory consultations have been completed and the application is formally notified to Ministers. Planning authorities will be advised to continue their consideration of the application, as the application may subsequently be cleared back to them.
On receipt of the planning application and accompanying papers, Scottish Ministers will have the following options:
- call the application in, within 28 days (with right to extend the period as required) and determine the method of consideration: a planning inquiry, a hearing or simply on the basis of the fully documented application as submitted.
- clear the application back to the planning authority, within 28 days (with right to extend the period as required). At this stage, Ministers may identify planning conditions considered to be necessary to ensure the overall acceptability of the development proposal.
Ministers' decisions on applications would be final, subject to statutory appeal or judicial review.Appendix Four:
In order to deal with major applications expeditiously, they need to be prioritised by planning authorities. Issues and constraints relating to the site and the proposed use need to be identified as early as possible in the process. We propose that the applicant and planning authority will agree on a realistic timetable for the planning application to be determined, informed by the views of statutory consultees. This will be set out in terms of an agreement between the parties.
We envisage the following procedures to ensure that agreements are made and that efforts are made on all sides to achieve the necessary timescales:
- where the parties are unable to reach a processing agreement within the 28 day period, the normal processing period for determining the application would apply i.e. 2 months (4 months for cases requiring an Environmental Impact Assessment) with the right to appeal to the Scottish Ministers against non-determination where that period expires without a decision being made. Where the appeal is successful, the applicant will have the right to a refund of half the planning application fee.
- where a processing agreement is in place but the terms are not met, the applicant can appeal to the Scottish Ministers against non-determination. The planning authority would then be required, along with its appeal submission, to make a statement on why the timetable was not met. In some cases, it is recognised that this may result from failure by another body i.e. a statutory consultee failing to respond. Where the planning authority is found to have acted unreasonably, it shall return the full fee to the applicant.
- where there is a processing agreement that is met, the applicant would retain the right to appeal to Scottish Ministers against refusal of the planning application or conditions on the consent. Refund of fees would not, however, apply in this case.
Modernising Development Planning
Strategic Development Plans
The move to strategic development plans marks a significant change in the style and purpose of plans at this level. Detailed arrangements for these plans are set out below.
We expect the new strategic development plans to set out a clear vision and spatial strategy for development. They should identify the key locations and priorities for protection, development and regeneration, 5, 10 and 20 years ahead, being more precise about short-term priorities. Numerous and lengthy policies will not be necessary. It will be for the local development plans to articulate the detailed policies and proposals to implement that vision. In areas with a single tier of development plan, the local development plan will be required to set out a vision and spatial strategy for the area.
Strategic Development Planning Authorities
We require specified authorities to work jointly to prepare strategic development plans for the city regions (see map below setting out authorities that will work together). We intend these authorities working together in this manner to be known as strategic development planning authorities ( SDPAs), although ultimate accountability and responsibility will lie with the individual councils themselves. Each council will be represented equally on the SDPA and will jointly and equally fund the SDPA's dedicated planning staff. The existing model, used in Structure Plan preparation in Ayrshire and in Glasgow and the Clyde Valley, for staff to be employed by one of the constituent councils and seconded to the dedicated team, has been effective and should be replicated for the SDPAs.
Ideally, the process for preparing strategic development plans will take place in parallel with the local development plans being produced by councils in all areas. National interests will be considered at the beginning of every plan review. After early targeted consultation, the SDPA should seek to resolve objections where possible before arranging an examination and seeking approval for the strategic development plans. The proposed stages of plan preparation for strategic development plans and local development plans are outlined in the diagram below.
Strategic Development Plan examination and approval
The examination of the strategic development plan will allow the reporter to assess independently the key issues around which there is debate. The reporter will also examine the planning authority's report on the consultation statement to assess the extent to which it has been met or exceeded. The reporter will have discretion over the style of examination, for each submission. Guidance will emphasise that all submissions will have equal status. It is expected that written submissions will be used for most representations, and inquiries should only be required where there are complex technical issues. As well as saving time, this reduces the need for individuals to have to engage with the oral examination process, which many regard as intimidating and drawn out, dominated by lawyers and planning consultants, often to the disadvantage of local people.
reporters will be required to report their recommendations to the Scottish Ministers. In this case, the planning authority and the Scottish Ministers will share the cost of the examination. There will be a period in which the strategic development planning authority, individual authorities or any other parties may submit comments to the Executive on the reporter's recommendations. The Scottish Ministers will then proceed to approve the examined plan, with any amendments they consider justified.
Development Planning in the National Parks
The new provisions relating to local development plans will also apply to National Parks. In these areas, local development plans will constitute the key land use planning document. They will, however, link closely to the National Park Plans which will cover the overall management and coordination of functions in the National Park. This will not require any legislative change.
Stages of Plan Preparation
Modernising Development Management
New technology has huge potential to make the planning service more transparent, accessible and efficient. Planning authorities across Scotland have been improving service delivery by placing planning information online, allowing people to track the progress of individual applications or find out about development plans. Some planning authorities have developed systems that allow planning applications to be submitted online. Where these e-planning services have been provided they have proved to be very popular with users. New technology is also being used to improve the planning appeal process and the information available through the Executive's Planning Homepage.
The Executive will continue to work with planning authorities to increase their use of new technology to improve service delivery, public access and involvement. Existing advice in PAN 70 will be updated to keep pace with e-planning advances. The E-Planning Group will continue to meet regularly to discuss progress, resolve common problems and look ahead to software and service options. It will also explore opportunities to share the costs involved in developing e-planning systems.
Planning agreements and obligations
The intended purpose of planning agreements is to enable planning authorities to enter into agreements to allow them to restrict or regulate the development or use of land where the same outcome cannot be achieved by the use of planning conditions.
Planning agreements are sometimes necessary to make a development acceptable in planning terms, but are criticised for increasing delays in granting planning permission and for being hidden from public scrutiny. We therefore intend to update the guidance on the use of planning agreements, at present set out in Circular 12/1996, to secure greater transparency, access and involvement in the process of their negotiation. This will include new guidance on best practice in drawing up agreements to speed up their production and make the process more open and accessible. It will cover setting out and making public the Heads of Agreement and monitoring arrangements, and details of how any financial contributions have been used. We will include in the Planning Bill a requirement that each concluded agreement is placed on a public register. We will also take steps to improve the skills of planning authorities in negotiating agreements. We will consult on a revised version of the Circular once the Planning Bill has been introduced.
We will also expand the scope of existing legislation on planning agreements to introduce unilateral obligations in the planning system. Unilateral obligations are already possible in England and Wales, where they operate in the same way as planning agreements, but are often put forward by a developer for use at appeal hearings. This can be a useful means of resolving a stalemate in the negotiations, for example where there is a dispute with the planning authority over conditions, or to meet an objection on a planning appeal. Unilateral undertakings may, for example, allow an applicant to enter into an obligation to deliver certain benefits, typically in relation to improved infrastructure like roads, which can then enable the planning permission to be granted by a planning authority.
We will issue new guidance to cover such obligations, which will require the applicant to produce the draft obligation well in advance of the appeal hearing, so that both the reporter and the planning authority have an opportunity to assess its suitability. The same tests of relevance should apply as with negotiated planning agreements. Like agreements, undertakings will bind the land and be enforceable by the planning authority against future owners of the property.
We also intend to introduce into legislation a means by which planning agreements and obligations may be modified or discharged under the planning system. This will include a right of appeal against a planning authority's failure to give notice of its determination of an application for modification or discharge of a planning agreement or obligation. It is already best practice in terms set out in Circular 12/1996 to incorporate a review mechanism within planning agreements.
Standard application forms
There is support for simplifying the planning application process by introducing standard application forms, written in plain English. This will make the application process faster and more user-friendly. Standard application forms could also assist in the electronic delivery of the planning service, particularly the online submission of applications.
Through the Planning Bill we will introduce a power to require the use of standard application forms nationally. This will apply to applications for planning permission, consent under Tree Preservation Orders, the display of advertisements and listed building and conservation area consents. Full consultation on the format and content of these standard forms will be undertaken before any consequential amendments are made to the General Development Procedure Order. PAN 48 on Planning Application Forms will also be reviewed.
Reduce time period for appeals from 6 months to 3 months
Applicants for planning permission currently have 6 months from the date of the decision on their planning application within which to appeal to Ministers against a refusal of planning permission, or against the conditions subject to which permission is granted. In light of concerns about the length of this period of uncertainty for objectors and planning authorities, the Executive has decided to reduce this time period to 3 months. This 3 month period still provides the applicant with sufficient time to consider whether to proceed with an appeal. This reduction will also apply to the period within which appeals on the basis of a deemed refusal of planning permission may be made to Ministers and to appeals to be decided by a local review body.
Power to decline to determine applications
Concerns have been raised about the ability of applicants to apply repeatedly for similar developments on the same site. Objectors believe that this simply serves to wear down opposition to controversial proposals. On the other hand, it is recognised that amendments to a proposal can make it acceptable in planning terms e.g. alterations to the mix of uses in a development, density, layout or design of the proposal. There is therefore a need to strike the right balance between allowing repeat applications in order to make useful amendments to proposals, without allowing such repetition to be used to exhaust opposition.
We intend that planning authorities will be able to decline to determine applications where they have determined more than one similar application in the previous 2 years, and the issues surrounding the application have not significantly changed. This allows applicants to submit one similar application in order to address any issues arising from a previous refusal. If refused, the planning authority would then have the discretion to decline to determine subsequent similar applications within the following 2 year period.
Duration of planning permissions
Currently, the planning system gives successful applicants for planning permission 5 years within which to commence development, unless the planning authority specifically sets a longer or shorter period. There is concern that, as a default, 5 years can be too long for planning permissions to be left unimplemented. It can create a climate of uncertainty for local people near the site, and for the planning authority, as to whether development will actually be carried out.
We also recognise the developer's need to have a degree of flexibility when it comes to starting a project. Once planning permission is in place, there may be further steps required, in relation to finance for example, and market conditions will determine the best time to begin development.
Under the modernised system that we propose, planning authorities will still be able to decide an appropriate period within which development must be begun, but, where no alternative period is set: the statutory period will be reduced to 3 years, instead of the current 5 years. This will reduce uncertainty and retains a reasonable period for developers to delay starting work.
Advertising weekly lists
In order to improve the public's awareness of planning applications, planning authorities will in future be required to produce and publish a weekly list of planning applications. This will contain details of undetermined applications currently before the planning authority. This list will be open to public inspection and planning authorities will be able to place these lists on their web sites. Planning authorities will also be required to advertise the availability of this list. Parties who are interested in development proposals in their area should therefore be able to access information on relevant planning applications easily.
Notified applications and conditions
Certain categories of planning application require notification to Ministers before planning permission can be granted. This allows Ministers to consider whether the case requires to be called in for their determination. We intend to give Ministers an additional power which will enable them to direct the planning authority to consider granting permission subject to such conditions as Ministers set out in that direction. The intention behind this proposal is to avoid the unnecessary call in of applications that we think can be dealt with in a more expeditious manner.
There has been a trend for business, especially retailers, to increase substantially their internal floor space without making any change to the exterior of the building through the introduction of mezzanine floors. This type of change does not currently require planning permission but can have implications for the number of people visiting the area and thereafter implications for traffic flow and parking facilities. The combination of these may have an impact on the amenity and environment of the area.
We propose to bring such mezzanine floor projects within the planning system by specifying that works involving the substantial increase in the gross floor space of a building will be defined as development, and therefore require planning permission. The actual circumstances and sizes of floor space involved will be set out in secondary legislation.
Managing change in the historic environment
Effective protection of the historic environment continues to be an important objective of the planning system. The planning system should also help to release the potential of the historic environment to contribute to wider objectives such as tourism, sustainable development and regeneration. Crucial to these objectives is the effective and efficient operation of the listed building, conservation area and scheduled monument consent mechanisms.
As part of this package of planning modernisation, we intend to update the provisions in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas)(Scotland) Act 1997 to:
- provide scope to reduce the need for Scottish Ministers' involvement in certain listed building consent applications in certain local authorities;
- tighten controls over demolition works in conservation areas;
- widen the scope for investing in conservation areas by ending the practice of classifying conservation areas as being 'outstanding' for grant purposes; and
- overcome other minor technical and procedural issues around the more effective operation of the provisions in the Act.
The associated Regulations, that set out the processes through which applications for listed building and conservation area consent are made, will also be updated in due course and opportunities taken to improve their efficiency and effectiveness.
We also recognise that there may be scope for more radical improvements through combining elements of the various relevant consent mechanisms. Although the proposed Planning Bill is unlikely to be the vehicle to take this type of change forward, Historic Scotland will lead an exercise to examine whether such an approach could be workable, and whether the potential benefits could justify changes to the legislation.
Tree Preservation Orders
Trees are a valuable part of our built environment contributing to landscape quality, local amenity and nature conservation. A Tree Preservation Order ( TPO) is an order made by a council to prohibit the cutting down or damaging of trees without consent. Research carried out in 2002 indicated that TPO legislation required updating and a subsequent consultation paper issued in December 2004 sought views on a number of detailed proposals. These proposals have considerable support, and we will now take forward the following proposals through the Planning Bill:
- that all TPOs have immediate effect, remaining in force provisionally for 6 months or until confirmed;
- that there should be a general requirement on planning authorities to monitor and review TPOs;
- that planning authorities should have an emergency power to prohibit certain works on trees;
- that statutory undertakers should notify planning authorities when they conduct works on protected trees;
- that replacement trees should remain subject to the original TPO; and
- that historical value should be added to amenity as a reason for serving a TPO.
Other supporting provisions will be promoted through secondary legislation.Appendix Seven:
Modernising Public Local Inquiries
The Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 allows for Local Inquiries to be held:
- in respect of appeals against planning decisions (under sections 47 and 48);
- as an examination in public of a structure plan (under section 10(4)-(5)); and
- to consider objections to a local plan (under section 15).
Appeals against planning decisions and public examinations of development plans are actually heard by a person appointed by the Scottish Ministers, which in practice means a reporter from SEIRU.
The overall aims of the proposed changes are to:
- ensure that the strengths of the present system are maintained whilst enabling planning decisions to be made quickly so that the Scottish economy is not disadvantaged in a time of rapid change; and
- allow those interested in a development proposal to make their views known and have them taken into account, without being intimidated by the process.
The challenge in improving the existing system is to ensure that local people do find it easier to contribute to the process, without prejudicing the achievement of a more efficient system.
In order to address this challenge we are proposing a number of measures.
Make Appeal Hearings More Efficient
Where an appeal is lodged against a planning decision, we consider that there is good reason for the right to a planning inquiry to be qualified so that the process is reserved for those cases where the subject matter cannot be addressed through written submissions, or through greater use of hearings, which are less formal than inquiries.
To achieve this objective we propose that appellants or planning authorities that request an inquiry should be required to give reasons for the request. Scottish Ministers would consider these and determine whether an inquiry would be held or whether the appeal could be determined following a hearing or written submissions.
We propose that, in order to speed up the processing of appeals, reporters be given greater scope to set and enforce a timetable for the process. On occasion, parties request that consideration of an appeal should be delayed. We propose to set a limit on this period.
Make Examination of Development Plans More Efficient, Transparent and Accessible
Many contemporary local plan inquiries are far removed from the original intention of a relatively informal exchange between the interested parties concerning the future use of land. There are concerns that members of the public find it difficult to engage, the number and duration of local plan inquiries has resource implications, and there is potential to delay the determination of other cases.
In future there will be a mandatory requirement for public examinations of development plans. Inquiries will form part of the range of techniques available. One of the principal ways in which we hope to make these examinations more accessible to local people is to reduce the use of inquiries. These create barriers to participation in two ways. First, the semi-judicial nature of proceedings can be intimidating to those not used to legal procedures and cross-examination and secondly, it can require a great deal of time and resource to prepare for and take part in inquiries. In future, there will be an even greater emphasis on written submissions, reducing the time and resource commitment for participants. More use will also be made of a range of less formal examination procedures, such as hearings and round-table discussions. These provide a far less intimidating atmosphere in which people can make their views known, and should also prove less costly. These informal processes are being tested in current local plan inquiries; experience is showing that these have been well received and that there is no reduction in the rigour with which important issues are considered.
We propose that planning authorities will be requested both to negotiate and, where appropriate, mediate before the examination stage. Where necessary to deal with complex or technical issues, the planning inquiry route may still be used.Appendix Eight:
Content Of Proposed Planning Bill
Changes to Development Planning
Introduction of Strategic Development Plans and Local Development Plans.
Abolition of Structure and Local Plans - the existing two tier system of development plans.
Speed up significantly the drafting of plans, with only one 'proposed plan' to replace current two stages of draft and finalised plans.
Place a statutory duty on planning authorities to update plans every 5 years.
Give Ministers powers to direct that certain development plans be updated.
Direct notification of owners, occupiers and neighbours of new site specific proposals in local development plans.
Mandatory public examination of strategic development plans.
Planning authorities to have a duty to publish a Development Plan Scheme and Action Programmes.
Duty on agencies to engage in development planning and take account of development plans in their policy formulation and decision making. ( e.g.SNH, SEPA, Scottish Water etc).
Requirement for planning authorities to publish a schedule of land in their ownership to which development proposals in the local development plan relate.
Reduce scope for inquiries to delay the examination of development plans, by using alternative methods.
Appointment by Scottish Ministers of reporters to local development plan examinations.
New framework to define the scope for planning authorities to depart from the reporter's recommendations after local development plan examination.
Provide powers for Ministers to set out transitional arrangements in regulations.
Changes to Development Management
Introduce new hierarchy for handling planning applications. These will be classified as national developments, major developments, local developments and minor developments.
Define enhanced status for national planning policy documents.
New schemes of delegation within planning authorities and revised arrangements for local handling of appeals.
Early determination of appeals and changes to other appeal procedures.
Reduce time period allowed for appeal from six months to three months.
Standard application forms for planning permission.
Promote the use of e-planning to encourage provision of planning information and services online.
Issue guidance to planning authorities to ensure that consultations on planning applications are proportionate and appropriately targeted, to minimise delay.
Improve the framework relating to the use of planning agreements (called Section 75 Agreements) including allowing applicants to submit unilateral planning obligations as part of the appeal process, to speed up decision making, and requiring all completed agreements to be available in public registers.
Wider power for planning authorities to decline to determine applications which are similar to applications submitted within the previous 2 years.
Direct notification to neighbours of appeals against enforcement notices.
Provision of full record of relevant factors and reasons for decisions and full text of planning decisions.
New procedures for notifying local people of intended developments and greater use of hearings to discuss views of developments.
Statutory duty for developers to carry out pre-application consultations on certain types of proposals.
Provision for Ministers to direct an independent inquiry where decisions contrary to professional advice or departures from the development plan are frequently taken.
Measures to strengthen the enforcement system, including:
- introducing an offence under Planning legislation where a retrospective application is not submitted, when required;
- introduce Temporary Stop Notices, capable of taking immediate effect;
- introduce notification of commencement of development; and re-state and clarify the need for, and information required by, a Planning Contravention Notice and ensure the current prosecution powers for non-compliance are simplified.
Revise provisions for Tree Preservation Orders.
Review and update legislation on planning fees and charges.
Changes to the definition of listed building - to clarify the position on partial demolition of non-listed buildings within conservation areas - and other updating of the listed buildings legislation.