Scots alliance aims to unblock process

Scottish government agencies are working with councils to produce new-style development plans in a shake-up revealed this week.

The agencies will help map potential constraints to identify where strategic development is appropriate at an earlier stage and focus on matters of national interest. The partnership approach is being tested in Edinburgh and south-east Scotland and by Highland Council.

The agencies will also identify areas where developers are failing to provide essential information to enable faster planning decisions.

The move is one of a range of measures to support sustainable economic growth. Historic Scotland is already giving up rights to intervene in grade B listed buildings applications in a pilot launched earlier this month, (Planning, 17 October, p9).

Drivers Jonas associate director Michael Dowds said involving agencies at the plan-making stage will make a vast contribution to unblocking the system.

The Scottish Government also stressed the need for councils to update development plans every five years and pledged a more proportionate approach to call-ins.

More than 20 planning policies will be streamlined into one containing core principles, key elements of the system and a clear statement relating to development and natural and built heritage. The reforms have been welcomed by councils, the RTPI and the property industry.

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