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Work Packages

The Work Programme is being taken forward through several work packages.  You can follow progress on this page, including access to relevant resources and working group papers.

The Community Engagement work package includes implementation of Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 provisions relating to:

  • Local place plans
  • Effective community engagement
  • Mediation guidance
  • Pre-application consultation

Community Engagement Working Group

December 2019 meeting slides - PDF (1.03MB)

December 2019 meeting discussion Summary - PDF (390kB)

October 2020 meeting discussion Summary - PDF (240kB)

Local Place Plans

Regulations will refine the requirements for content and processes for community bodies preparing their own local place plans, and for how those plans are handled through the planning system. Recent discussions with the Community Engagement Working Group and some research into a ‘How to Guide’ are supporting this work. We will consult on proposals for local place plan regulations in early 2021.

Mediation in Planning

Section 40 of the new Planning Act requires the Scottish Ministers to issue guidance, by July 2021, on the promotion and use of mediation in planning. We are currently consulting on draft mediation guidance and are inviting responses by 12 March 2021.

Pre-application Consultation

New regulations are due to come into force on 1 October 2021 which will change the requirements for pre-application consultation with communities about major developments. Further changes at section 18 of the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 will come into force at the same time, explained in this Policy Note. We are preparing new guidance in advance of the changes. This follows a consultation carried out in autumn 2020 – see also the consultation responses and consultation analysis report.

The Development Planning work package includes implementation of Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 provisions relating to:

  • Purpose of planning
  • National Planning Framework / Scottish Planning Policy
  • Local Development Plans

This Development Planning and Housing Policy - PDF (239kB) work programme set out some key actions. This timetable has been reviewed as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, and this is reflected in the information below.

The provisions on the Purpose of Planning and the National Planning Framework were among the first sections of the 2019 Act to be brought into force.

  • The Purpose of Planning is “to manage the development and use of land in the long term public interest”,
  • With the legislation in place, work is progressing on the preparation of Scotland’s fourth National Planning Framework (NPF4).

Development Planning Working Group

December 2019: The Development Planning Working Group met for the first time and agreed that the Group would like to produce outputs that will support the drafting of the regulations and guidance for the new Development Plans system.

Development Planning Working Group slides - PDF (501kB)

Development Planning Working Group discussion Summary - PDF (230kB) 

September 2020: To enable the Development Planning Working Group to produce outputs that will support the preparation of regulations and guidance, membership has split into three subgroups. Each subgroup is producing information and ideas to support:

  • The Evidence Report and Gatecheck stages of preparing a new style Local Development Plan
  • Procedures associated with preparing a new style Local Development Plan
  • Scope and Content of new style Local Development Plans

The subgroups met for the first time in late September/ early October 2020, and agreed that they would submit finalised outputs to the Scottish Government in February 2021.  An updated overview and timescales provides the remit for the sub-groups, this timescale can be found in the introductory presentations from each of the subgroup meetings, in the library linked below.

We have created a library of information to support the Working Group, including presentations, papers and notes from meetings, and links to any relevant background information.

Transitional Arrangements Guidance

This Transitional Arrangements Guidance - PDF (458kB) provides advice about the current intention for the transitional arrangements to allow for a smooth changeover from current to new development planning processes. It also informs of the likely timing of changes to the existing legislation. Updates will be provided should there be any change to the intentions set out within this guidance.

The Development Management work package includes implementation of Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 provisions relating to:

  • Pre-application consultation
  • Duration of planning permission
  • Declining to determine similar applications
  • Schemes of delegation, appeals and local reviews

Several of the development management provisions have already been brought into force, including requirements relating to noise-sensitive developments, provision of changing places toilet facilities and a statement as to conformity with the development planSee the Legislation page for more details.

Development Management Working Group

December 2019 meeting discussion Summary - PDF (211kB)

Pre-application Consultation

New regulations are due to come into force on 1 October 2021 which will change the requirements for pre-application consultation with communities about major developments. Further changes at section 18 of the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 will come into force at the same time, explained in this Policy Note. We are preparing new guidance in advance of the changes. This follows a consultation carried out in autumn 2020 – see also the consultation responses and consultation analysis report.

The Leadership, Skills and Resourcing work package includes implementation of Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 provisions relating to:

  • Role of Chief Planning Officers
  • Planning fees
  • Performance reporting
  • National Planning Improvement Coordinator
  • Elected member training

Leadership, Skills and Resourcing Working Group

December 2019 meeting slides - PDF (859kB)

December 2019 meeting discussion Summary - PDF (291kB)

Performance and resources

Our consultation paper Planning Performance and Fees (December 2019) proposed a new approach to measuring and improving performance and a new structure for planning fees. We will publish an analysis of responses soon. In revisiting our work programme while responding to the COVID-19 emergency, we have paused this work for now and will pick up again when the timing is more appropriate.

We are supporting Royal Town Planning Institute research on Measuring Planning Outcomes.

Skills

The Scottish Government is a member of Partners in Planning – an online platform to support Scotland’s planners in delivering successful places.  See the Partners in Planning website as a single access point to the knowledge and skills that enables behavioural change in the planning system

Reviewing and Extending Permitted Development Rights

We are carrying out a substantial review of permitted development rights that are granted by the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Scotland) Order 1992 (as amended).  Permitted development rights remove the need to apply for planning permission in relation to developments and circumstances specified in the legislation.

In December 2020, we laid a development order in the Scottish Parliament which will introduce new and extended permitted development rights in relation to priority development types:

  • digital telecommunications infrastructure
  • agricultural development
  • peatland restoration
  • development related to active travel
  • aquaculture

The legislation is due to come into force on 1 April 2021.  This guidance note explains the permitted development rights - PDF (394kB) included in the development order.

These changes have been prioritised to help support Scotland’s green recovery and deliver key priorities, including tackling climate change and supporting remote and rural communities.    They will implement the first phase of our review of permitted development rights, following on from a public consultation in autumn 2020.

Sustainability Appraisal:

A Sustainability Appraisal was previously conducted into options for 16 development types and we followed that with a public consultation last winter on a detailed delivery programme.

Programme for extending permitted development rights in Scotland: non-technical summary - PDF (159.3kB)

Programme for extending permitted development rights in Scotland: full report - PDF (5.3MB) 

Consultation: Proposed programme for reviewing and extending permitted development rights (PDR) in Scotland and consultation analysis report

The Planning Obligations work package includes implementation of Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 provisions relating to:

  • Modification and discharge of obligations
  • Publication and reporting on obligations
  • Clarifying the description of what an obligation can do

The provisions relating to the description of an obligation and the changes relating to the process for modification or discharge came into force in November 2020.  See the Legislation page for more details.

Review of planning obligations

Planning obligations are legal agreements, often referred to as ‘Section 75 agreements’, entered into to mitigate the impacts of proposed developments in order to make them acceptable in planning terms. In certain circumstances, planning obligations can be used to secure financial contributions to – or in-kind provision of – infrastructure and affordable housing.

Following a report by the Scottish Land Commission (May 2019) - PDF (213kB), we are taking stock of the effectiveness of planning obligations. The findings of the review will inform future policy development on infrastructure planning and delivery in Scotland.

Research

As a first step, we have commissioned research on the value, incidence and impact of developer contributions in Scotland. This research, which commenced in July 2020, is being carried out by the London School of Economics, University of Sheffield, Stefano Smith Planning and Rettie & Co.

The research team has sent a survey to all planning authorities to obtain important quantitative data on the value of developer contributions in Scotland. This letter to planning authorities from the Chief Planner - PDF (165kB) further explains the purpose and importance of this survey work.

Read more about this review and the current research on this Planning Obligations Review Factsheet -PDF (469kB).

We will provide updates here as the review progresses.

Last Updated: 25 Feb 2021

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