Community Guide to the Consultation Planning People and Places

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Community Guide to the Consultation
Planning People and Places

2 weeks left to respond to once-in-a-generation consultation on Scottish planning system.

The public consultation Planning People and Places will help to inform the Government’s upcoming Planning Bill. We think it’s important that as many people as possible respond to the consultation. It’s a technical area and the number of questions in the consultation can be overwhelming. Some of the questions are also “closed” or have been framed narrowly, so we’ve come up with some guidance to help people respond to 20 proposals contained in the consultation.

We have already published a blog outlining our views on the consultation here.

The table on page 3 is not a comprehensive document, but we hope it helps stimulate some thoughts about what you might include in your own responses.

If nothing else, we ask you to comment on providing communities with a right of appeal (Equal Right of Appeal) under proposal 9.

We ask the Scottish Government to introduce an Equal Right of Appeal for communities.

Currently the planning review rejects the case for equalising appeal rights.

We ask that the Scottish Government look at the positive gains that might be made by providing communities with even a limited right to appeal decisions.

These are:

Create a level playing field to ensure meaningful public engagement and address an unacceptable inequality

Enhance public trust in the planning system

Strengthen the plan-led system and incentivize developers to ensure that proposals are in accordance with the development plan, (if proposals outwith or contrary to the development plan are subject to appeal)

Improve decision-making by correcting weak proposals. There may be times when permission is granted, but the reasons for doing so are tenuous or weak. ERA would enable such weak approvals to be changed (i.e. have their attached conditions amended) or dismissed entirely if it is exceptionally weak

Improve plans and decisions by ensuring that complex and often highly contentious decisions to grant permission are subject to the same level of scrutiny as decisions to refuse permission.

We have asked two key questions of the consultation proposals:

  • Will the proposals improve public confidence in planning by actually empowering communities by giving them stronger rights and more effective opportunities to engage?
  • Will the proposals lead to better quality development in places where it is needed?

Our overall view is that the proposals following the review will not improve public confidence in planning because it does nothing to increase the quality or quantity of engagement opportunities. The only significant proposal is to introduce a parallel process of local place planning which may confer some greater community control over development. However, without proper resourcing and other changes elsewhere, this may well just make the current shortcomings worse. The proposals do not adequately address the structural inequalities within planning and provides few additional rights for communities, particularly no right to appeal decisions.

The proposals offer few concrete proposals to ensure better quality development is delivered. The Review that generated the proposals was driven largely by a short-term interest to increase efficiency of decision-making processes. But good planning is complex and streamlining decisions for all large scale developments will not necessarily serve Scotland’s long-term interests. We are disappointed because, despite all the rhetoric, the proposals currently reflect a more limited view of the potential for planning to shape better futures for people in Scotland.

We will continue to advocate for measures that will put the people back into Scotland’s planning system. If enough communities make their voices heard, the people of Scotland can still shape this future legislation.

  • Please use your own words as much as possible for maximum impact
  • Please qualify your answers with examples of your own experiences
  • Responses to the consultation should be submitted to Planning and Architecture Division of the Scottish Government by 5pm on Tuesday 4 April 2017.
  • You can view and respond to this consultation online at You can save and return to your responses while the consultation is still open.
  • If you are unable to respond online, send response to or Planning and Architecture Division The Scottish Government 2-H South Victoria Quay Edinburgh EH6 6QQ