Efforts to remove uncertainty from planning system welcomed by property industry

23 Jun 2014

Policy area: Town centres, Development

The Scottish Property Federation (SPF) has welcomed this morning’s publication of Scotland’s Third National Planning Framework (NPF3) and its Scottish Planning Policy (SPP). It praised in particular its stipulation that there should be a presumption in favour of sustainable development, but has urged the government to continue to seek reform from within the system. 

The SPF, which represents property investors and developers, has pointed out that although the commercial property market in Scotland is improving, it is important to remove as much uncertainty as possible from the planning system as development finance remains challenging for most commercial projects that are not pre-let in the current risk-averse environment. The SPF suggests aligning various public elements such as roads, water infrastructure and transport in order to progress major planning applications quickly and effectively.

With the government’s quarterly planning applications statistics showing that planning applications for major business and industry now take on average just under 22 weeks to determine, the SPF has also pointed out how important it is to apply a continued high priority to local authority planning services. A number of planning authorities are clearly making positive progress and leadership, which needs to be encouraged. 

David Melhuish, Director at the Scottish Property Federation, commented: “We welcome the move to align the national planning framework with the detailed SPP, which sets out national planning policies on development planning, design and how planning applications are determined.  The introduction of a presumption in favour of development that contributes to sustainable development is welcome and will help to support necessary development where development plans are out of date in particular.

“We do feel, however, that there is still more improvement to be made to co-ordinate the planning service and other regulatory factors more effectively. By encouraging the positive engagement and investment of the private sector, the wider public sector and communities, the SPF believes that the SPP and NPF3 will lay strong foundations for growth.”