Former First Minister launches new alliance ahead of Planning Bill
A new alliance of organisations working across the planning and placemaking sectors has come together to urge the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament to deliver a more inclusive, collaborative and innovative planning system when the Planning Bill is introduced to Holyrood later this year.
The Scottish Alliance for People and Places, chaired by former First Minister Henry McLeish and comprising ten organisations, launched its campaign at an event in Edinburgh.
The Alliance has formed to utilise the experience and expertise of professionals from all across the planning and placemaking sector to present the innovative policy solutions that are required to bring about a transformation culture change in planning.
Speaking ahead of the event, the former First Minister, Henry McLeish said:
“This group of expert organisations has come together for the first time because they recognise the scale of the opportunity ahead to address what is ultimately a relationship between people and communities and Scotland’s planning system in need of renewal.
“The truth is that in many communities across Scotland, planning is viewed as an imposition – something done to us by big developers in partnership with local government. It’s often about stopping the development we don’t like, rather than working together to plan the positive developments we want to see – local parks, schools, hospitals, housing.
“There are undoubtedly helpful technical changes the Scottish Government could make when it brings its Planning Bill to Parliament this year, but our view is that our problem is much more fundamental – namely, people and communities in Scotland often do not see the relevance of the planning system to their everyday lives and this is what we need to address.
“We want to work with the Scottish Government and Parliament to present an ambitious vision for a refreshed and revitalised planning system in Scotland that plans and delivers the quality economic and social development our country needs, but through collaboration and dialogue. Over the coming months, we will harness the experience and expertise of our members to offer constructive policy solutions that we believe can make this type of transformational cultural change a reality.
“Ultimately, this is about homes and the places in which we live and work. If Scotland wants to realise our shared dream of a home for everyone, we have to create a new and positive mood which empowers the planning system to help deliver it.”
Petra Biberbach, Chief Executive of PAS, said:
“There is a huge opportunity to build a planning system that really inspires communities, especially young people, to become an integral part of place planning in Scotland. PAS hopes to use our knowledge and experience of community engagement in placemaking all across Scotland, utilising our network of 450 volunteers from the planning profession, to help realise this opportunity.”
Sarah Boyack, Head of Public Affairs for the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, said:
“Quality, affordable, warm homes in well-designed communities are essential for our health and well-being and are an investment in our future. We aim to help empower people to positively influence the places that they live and to ensure a supply of quality housing that meets people’s needs across Scotland.”
Craig McLaren, Director of Scotland and Ireland for the Royal Town Planning Institute, said:
“The planning bill is an opportunity to create a planning system that allows everyone to help shape the places they live in. RTPI Scotland looks forward to working with partners in the Alliance to help make this a reality.”
Graham Boyack, Director of the Scottish Mediation Network, said:
“The new planning bill is a great opportunity to involve people in the planning system. Equipping people with the skills of mediation and sometimes using mediators can enrich that involvement and help to shape solutions based on common interests.”
Gail Hunter, Scottish Regional Director for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, said:
“RICS believes that the Scottish planning system needs to be inclusive, and take an holistic approach to the economic and social wellbeing of communities and the people in them.”
Jamie Cooke, Head of RSA Scotland, said:
“At the RSA we are delighted to see the emphasis on people and place which the Alliance is developing. The Planning Process should be a powerful tool for bringing change to our communities, and we are looking forward to working with the rest of the Alliance to help shape the development of the Bill.”