24 Jul 2018

Scotland’s Chief Statistician has released figures on planning applications for the year 2017/18. These figures for local and major developments include different trends in decision time and approval rates.

Commenting on the planning service statistics released today, David Melhuish, Director of the Scottish Property Federation, said:

“The drop in recent performance, as highlighted by today’s planning statistics, is cause for concern. For the average time taken to deliver decisions on major developments to have increased significantly in quarter four, despite a continuing fall in the overall number of applications determined, is particularly worrying and we must simply do better.

“Planning fees were increased six-fold last June with major applicants hoping to see an improvement in the planning service.  However, the jury is clearly out on whether an improvement in planning performance has been achieved.

“While we recognise that it can take time to put in place the additional resources necessary, it is critical that local authorities use the new planning fees to invest in their planning services. At the moment that improvement is patchy and we must see tangible progress across the board before any further fee increases are contemplated.

“We urge local authorities to see planning as a tool of economic development and to prioritise these additional fees for the management and delivery of major developments.” 

He added:

“The Planning Bill offers a chance to improve up-front engagement and to streamline the planning process but we cannot afford any further obstacles to investment to be created in the planning system if we are to deliver much needed jobs, investment and economic growth.”