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SFHA update on the Planning Bill

Local Government & Communities Committee decides against including third party right of appeal in Planning Bill.

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There was a major development on the new Planning Bill on Wednesday 7 November, as the Local Government & Communities Committee decided against including a third party right of appeal.

A third party right of appeal would allow appeals by third party organisations against projects which have been granted planning permission.

The third party right of appeal is an emotive issue - some organisations, such as Community Planning, argue that a third party or equal right of appeal is necessary to balance the interests of the community with developers. Other organisations have argued that the introduction of the right would lead to unnecessary delays in the planning system. 

The Royal Town Planning Institute Scotland (RTPI) has welcomed the Local Government & Communities Committee’s decision against including a third party right of appeal at Stage Twi of the Bill.

Craig McLaren, RTPI Director of Scotland and Ireland said:

“The Planning Bill is a great opportunity to put communities at the heart of deciding how places will change. The RTPI believes that the best way to achieve this is through supporting people to engage early and meaningfully with planning. We believe that this should be done through constructive engagement with plans carried out as early as possible.

“The RTPI did not support the introduction of the third party right of appeal as we believe this would entrench confrontation in the system and lead to delays.”

What next?

Once the Local Government & Communities Committee finishes considering and voting on amendments to the Bill, the Bill will pass to Stage Three before receiving assent and becoming law. 

The Bill has the potential to lead to radical changes in planning and affordable housing development. Two amendments supported by SFHA have been included in the Bill:

  • Allowing, in certain circumstances, transfer of land at existing value to be developed for housing; and
  • Setting targets for housing in the National Planning Framework based on a comprehensive assessment of housing need.   

The RTPI believes that community involvement in planning could be supported at Stage Three of the Bill, stating that they want to see the tools put in place to support pro-active and positive public involvement in planning.