Scot-Govt. sets up ‘game-changing’ review of planning law

Aberdeen airport mapAn independent panel has been set up to carry out what Social Justice Minister Alex Neil has called a ‘game-changing’ review of Scotland’s planning system.

Planning is a vexed issue for the onshore renewable energy issue and local communities alike, with both sides claiming the other has too much influence, and/or not enough, whilst many community councils fail to appreciate property – land owners have rights to develop property (subject to planning law).

The various objections and ultimately futile appeals lodged by American businessman – and prospective US presidential candidate – Donald Trump against development of an offshore wind farm near one of his golf course developments in Grampian are perhaps the best-known example.

The three-man panel, chaired by quango veteran Crawford Beveridge, will be tasked with bringing together ideas to achieve a quicker, more accessible and efficient planning process.

Beveridge will work with Petra Biberbach of Planning Aid Scotland (Tel 0131 220 9730) and John Hamilton of the Scottish Property Federation.

The individual panel members are widely respected for their expertise and will bring a good range of experience to the review which will consider six key issues:

  • Development planning;
  • Housing delivery;
  • Planning for infrastructure;
  • Further improvements to development management;
  • Leadership, resourcing and skills, and
  • Community engagement.


Alex Neil, MSP
Alex Neil, MSP

Minister Neil said:  “There has already been significant planning performance improvement as a result of previous modernisation, but I believe that more can be done by all stakeholders so planning plays a more positive and effective role in creating high quality places for current and future generations, while respecting local democracy.

“This review will look at wide-ranging issues affecting the planning system, including how planning is resourced and how we can streamline and improve our system in Scotland. It will reinforce our commitment to a fair and open planning system that works for everyone, especially local communities.

“There will be opportunities for all stakeholders to play a positive role in the process to ensure their views are heard and taken into account and I encourage everyone to get involved in this review.”

The Minister did not provide contact details for the new planning review panel.

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