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Communities given more say in planning

Planning Bill passed by Scottish Parliament.

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Communities will have more say in shaping the future development of their areas in what the Scottish Government is calling “a radical shake-up of planning laws”.

The Planning Bill passed yesterday includes a raft of new measures aimed at empowering people and organisations to get involved in planning the future of their communities.

A new right means people will now be able to prepare local place plans covering what will be done in their communities, including over issues such as housing, open space and community facilities as well as business and employment opportunities.

Local authorities will be legally required to take local place plans into account when preparing their development plans.

The Bill takes a new approach to strategic planning in Scotland introducing a duty on local authorities to work together to produce ‘regional spatial strategies’.

These strategies will provide long-term direction to large scale development, matching local and national planning needs,outcomes and priorities.

Additionally, the National Planning Framework, Scotland’s long-term plan for future development, will now be required to be approved by parliament.

Other changes covered by the bill include new powers for local authorities to introduce control areas where planning permission will always be required if owners want to change the use of their property to short-term lets.

Planning Minister Kevin Stewart said: “Scotland’s varied places – our cities, towns, villages, countryside, coast and islands – are an integral part of our national and local identity.

“This Bill is a radical new way forward for planning in Scotland. It’s a vision that empowers communities to have a positive say in shaping their future.

“There is now more scope for local planning to influence regional and national plans, and we expect to see more collaboration where people and local authorities across Scotland work closely together for all our benefit.

“The quality of the places where we live, work and play can have a lasting impact on health, wellbeing and prosperity – that’s why planning, and this bill, are so important.”