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PEOPLE MAKE THE SYSTEM WORK
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March 20, 2017
12:22 pm
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Ian
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PEOPLE MAKE THE SYSTEM WORK –

6 Community-prepared local place plans to form part of the statutory LDP

Building local community capacity

 

The idea of Local Place Plans is POTENTIALLY empowering for local communities but much depends on the detail of implementation.

Key issue is resourcing communities to develop their own Local Place Plans, particularly disadvantaged communities.

Community aspirations that do not conform with development plans will be subjugated under this proposal, this suggests a very negative view of people’s motivation for getting involved in planning.

Uncertain what additional value the new duty to consult community councils in preparing LDP plans will bring or how it will operate.

Concern about the emphasis on charrettes to deliver community involvement, other techniques can provide additional value and can provide better opportunity to iron out contentious issues, rather than gloss over them.

See also appeal rights

7 Involve more people in planning, especially “children and young people” The emphasis on children and young people is welcome enough but is it really the major problem in terms of getting people involved in planning?

To engage people in planning they need to see that their views are being listened to, they need to be able to say no to developments without being accused of NIMBYism or being anti-development. People need to feel trusted and respected. They need to see that engagement leads to better development that reflects community needs not developer’s profits.

If proper respect and trust is established, engagement will follow.

‘Front-loading’ welcome but better more innovative methods (eg citizens juries, deliberative polls) need to be used to discuss contentious issues early on. More use of community engagement specialists in the consultation processes and better understanding of community development by planners.

We don’t believe frontloading can work unless people know that decisions made at development management stage will reflect their input at the earlier stages. The best way to do this would be to introduce an equal right of appeal for communities when decisions are made contrary to an agreed development plan (see below).

8 Improve public trust through better pre-application consultation; greater community involvement on applications not supported in the plan; discouraging repeat applications and improving planning enforcement. The proposals for greater community involvement on applications not supported in development plans do not provide a big enough incentive to encourage developers to put in proposals that conform with the development plan.

A stronger incentive would be provided by the creation of the right for communities to appeal applications that do not conform with the plan, and removal of the developers right to appeal if the proposal does not conform with the plan.

Action to discourage repeat and retrospective application welcomed, but need to be strengthened further. Repeat applications waste significant officer time and cause major unrest for communities.

Proposals to encourage better enforcement need to be strengthened further, particularly with a clear commitment of resources to investigate all reported breaches of planning control.

9 Keeping decisions local – rights of appeal. More review decisions should be made by local authorities rather than centrally We disagree strongly with the rejection of an equal right of appeal. This has been done without evidence, despite significant call for it from communities throughout Scotland. A right of appeal must be proposed if planning is to regain the trust of the public.

There are many ways a limited right of appeal could be legislated for that will not undermine local decision making or lead to vexatious appeals. Rather than seeing appeal rights for communities as a threat the SG should appreciate the benefits it brings, including improving weak proposals that are currently approved with no further scrutiny and providing an incentive for public engagement at earlier stages of planning

Local Review Bodies remain a concern to many because of their lack of independence – should the initial decision-maker also hear an appeal against their decision?

We would support any suggestion that involves training (and testing) of LRB members.

Proposal to create citizen panels to ‘gate check’ examination of plans could be extended to LRBs, where the lack of independence of the panel could be enhanced by including citizens or independent experts onto the LRB on the model of citizen’s juries or planning review panels as used in parts of Australia.

We question the notion that giving more appeal decisions to Scottish Ministers is more democratic.

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