SPF Director Comments on the Scottish Government's Update on the Planning Review

29 Jun 2017

Following today’s update on the Scottish Government’s planning review, Scottish Property Federation Director, David Melhuish, said:

“We give a cautious welcome to today’s update, which contains some promising suggestions on streamlining and simplifying the plan-led system, including the use of simplified planning zones, bolstering the National Planning Framework and Scottish Planning Policy. 

“However, we continue to hold major reservations over the prospect of a Scottish Infrastructure Levy and further discretionary fees on the back of a six-fold increase in the planning fees cap in Scotland. Any increase in fees paid by the private sector needs to result directly in an injection of additional resources for planning services, delivering stronger leadership that supports appropriate development and encourages new investment in our built environment. Unfortunately, we have yet to see full commitment by planning authorities to tie fees to better outcomes in the way that’s needed. Moreover, while infrastructure delivery is a key challenge under the current system, its reform will be a key test of success for the proposals in the consultation paper, bearing in mind the experience of members with the Community Infrastructure Levy in England. 

“We want to see a greater understanding by the public sector of the upfront costs the private sector already pays towards delivering the planning service and the risks involved. If we are to drive local economic growth, jobs and investment we must have strong public leadership and an efficient, aspirational and delivery-focused planning service.”