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RTPI Scotland calls for planning bill to be bold

05 December 2017

The professional body for town planners has called for a bold approach when considering the new planning bill for Scotland, which has been published today. 

Stefano Smith, Convenor of Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Scotland, commented: 

"We said at the outset of the planning review that it was a fantastic opportunity to realise the potential of the planning system and to highlight the important role planning had in creating the types of places we want across Scotland.  Any new planning act must aim to fulfil those initial aspirations of a planning system that delivers infrastructure to enable development and achieve sustainable economic growth. 

"The bill, as introduced, has the right direction of travel and will fix some of the issues faced in planning our cities, towns and villages.  However,we question if it is bold enough to make the step change required for a world leading planning system."

RTPI Scotland believes that there is still an opportunity to do this through ensuring the bill promotes:

  • a new ambitious approach to engaging communities where discussion and debate takes place at the start of the process and is based on what people want their area to be rather than on what they don’t want
  • a more coordinated approach to planning, development and infrastructure through making the National Planning Framework more influential, establishing new statutory Regional Planning Partnerships and taking new approaches to funding infrastructure
  • a planning system that delivers development through capital funding from local authorities and other community planning partners
  • a properly resourced and influential planning service that promotes good place making through establishing a statutory Chief Planning Officer in every local authority  

RTPI Scotland will be engaging with MSPs throughout the bill scrutiny period to explain the benefits of these proposals and promote the changes required in the bill. We will also work to ensure the important secondary legislation to follow the bill supports these objectives.”

The Planning (Scotland) Bill was placed before Parliament today. This will kick off a rigorous scrutiny period by the Scottish Parliament and should lead to a new Planning Act being approved later in the year.

RTPI Scotland set out priorities for a new planning system in its paper Repositioning Planning: Building a Successful and Sustainable Scotland. It has also published five think pieces to advance ideas on the Planning Bill.