Property industry welcomes link to planning service performance and urges competitive fees

28 Mar 2012

Policy area: Development

The Scottish Property Federation has cautiously welcomed a series of planning reforms aimed at improving the performance of the planning service and streamlining the planning system where possible. 

In a welcome move the Scottish Government is linking increased fees, which had been pre-announced last year, to significant improvements in the planning service.  Amongst today’s announcements there is also a proposal to reform the pre-application process so that minor amendments do not trigger a further twelve week statutory pre-application engagement process and for further consultation on improvements to the planning agreements process.

The increase in planning application fees announced today is significant and especially so for retail developers who will in some cases now be paying more than they would expect to pay in England.  It is crucial therefore that other aspects of the reforms such as controlling the demands and costs of up front appraisals and reports are streamlined in order to ensure our planning application system is competitive as well as performing its purpose as a facilitator of sustainable economic growth.

David Melhuish, director of the Scottish Property Federation, said: “We’ve raised a number of concerns with Ministers in relation to the planning system and we welcome the public consultations announced in a number of areas of reform designed to take forward planning modernisation.

“We’ve argued that any increase in planning fees must be accompanied by a tangible improvement in the planning service.  While it will be important to have as competitive a fee structure as possible, we welcome today’s strong emphasis on linking any increase in planning fees to a significant improvement in the performance of the planning service. 

“In addition our members have consistently raised concerns with Ministers that we need to see progress on limiting or making more proportionate the cost of up-front reports, multiple consents and appraisals which can be a severe cost to applicants.  We welcome the inclusion of these key issues for the property industry in today’s consultative package and we look forward to continuing to engage with the Scottish Government on the detail of the proposals.”