Response to Minister Kevin Stewart MSP’s letter to the Local Government and Communities Committee on Third Party and Equal Right of Appeal in the Planning (Scotland) Bill
Tuesday 20 March 2018
Yesterday, the Minister for Local Government and Housing, Kevin Stewart MSP, wrote to the Local Government and Communities Committee ahead of his oral evidence on the Planning (Scotland) Bill, in relation to the issue of Third Party and Equal Right of Appeal.
In light of his letter, the Scottish Alliance for People and Places felt it was important to set out our position, as a coalition of organisations and charities working across the planning, built environment and placemaking sectors.
Our vision is for a planning system that is inclusive, respected, ambitious, holistic, and that works in the long term public interest. We believe in a system that inspires and empowers civic participation, recognises the positive force that quality economic development can play in creating a more equal society, and is built on fostering strong relationships through consensus and collaboration.
We passionately believe that creating great places can be a force for good in the lives of people and communities in Scotland. The quality of the spaces around us, in which we live, work and play, is crucial to the advancement of our physical, mental and social wellbeing.
We understand there is a frustration and mistrust in communities across in Scotland in relation to the planning system, whereby many people feel they are unable to influence decisions about their local places. All of us agree that we need to bring people and planning closer together to agree a shared vision for the places in which we live, work and play, rather than simply opposing what we do not wish to see.
However, as we outlined in our evidence to the Local Government and Communities Committee, our members agree with the Scottish Government’s position that changing arrangements for planning appeals is not the means by which we can best hope to achieve this outcome.
We are concerned that the introduction of this measure will create further conflict between communities and other stakeholders in our places and undermine the collective ambition for a positive, front-loaded planning system that incentivises participation at the very beginning and throughout the process. We intend to publish a more detailed paper, exploring these issues, in the near future.
Our preferred approach is for a system which fosters participation, meaningful collaboration and co-production from the very beginning of the process. We are positive and optimistic about the potential Local Place Plans, alongside changes to Local Development Plans, have for achieving this, and we strongly encourage the Scottish Government to consider what it can do to strengthen these provisions, and others, within the Bill to ensure they have the greatest possible impact and commitment.
The Scottish Alliance for People and Places