Following different stages of consultation, the Scottish Government introduced the Planning Bill to the Scottish Parliament on 4 December 2017.
The Bill sets out proposed high-level changes to the overall framework under which planning operates. Key points include:
- Local development plans (LDP) will now extend over a ten-year period instead of 5 as previously.
- The need for a strategic development plan (SDP) has been removed, and the LDP will align more directly with the National Planning Framework (NPF) (not to be confused with the National Performance Framework).
- The LDP should align more closely with the Local Outcomes Improvement Plan (LOIP), to achieve ‘joined up and effective community engagement’. LOIPs are required to be produced by Community Planning Partnerships under the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act.
- The LDP will be produced through better engagement and collaboration, reduced procedures and a clearer focus on outcomes and delivery.
- The requirement for a main issues report has been removed.
- The LDP will be subject to review and possible amendment, at stages across its lifespan.
The Bill also introduces a new right for communities to produce local place plans (LPP). This includes the following measures:
- The planning authority must have regard to any local place plans within their district.
- The definition of community body is the same as in the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act, and includes community councils.
- The LPP must have regard to the local development plan for the land, or any part of the land, to which the local place plan relates, the National Planning Framework, and any other prescribed matters.
- The LPP must comply with any prescribed requirements regarding the content of the plan, the steps which must be taken before its preparation, and information which should be submitted alongside.
- The LPPs should also align with the LOIP.
- The format and process for developing a LPP is flexible.
- If the LPP results in an amendment to the LDP, this will be subject to independent examination if it is viewed by Ministers as a significant change.
The detail of how the new provisions will work in practice will be contained within secondary legislation and guidance. Following Parliamentary scrutiny of the Bill, which is likely to involve further consultation, the Scottish Government will commence work on developing the required secondary legislation through a longer term, collaborative programme of work.