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Scepticism over new bill

Property sector delivers ‘damning verdict’ on planning review

Planning (Scotland) billProfessionals across the property and architecture sectors are highly sceptical that a new planning regime will bring about the required improvements to the system.

A survey on attitudes in the private and public sector towards the Planning (Scotland) Bill, conducted by consultancy Barton Willmore, has shown high levels of dissatisfaction with the current direction of the Scottish Government’s review. 

Survey responders delivered a strong message, with more than 92% believing that that the Planning Bill would not result in an adequate ‘root and branch’ review of the current planning system.

Almost 85% said the Bill would not ‘improve delivery of housing and infrastructure’, while a further 90% of survey responders claimed that the Bill will not provide the industry in Scotland with a ‘strong and high performing planning system.’   

In all, the survey covered a wide range of topics relating to the Bill, with in-depth questions geared to understanding key issues such as greater community involvement during the planning process and how the introduction of Local Place Plans will impact on local development. The full results of the survey will be published later this month.

Colin Lavety, planning director for Barton Willmore’s Scottish operation, said: “This was a comprehensive, in-depth survey aiming to take an initial industry pulse on the Planning Bill as a whole while it is being debated in Scotland. 

“Although these are our initial research findings, it is clear that so far the industry has given a very damning verdict on the progression of the Bill.

“It’s clear that the direction of the planning review is now moving away from some of its initial key aims such as enabling housing and infrastructure delivery, and our headline survey findings seem to confirm our view that such fundamental considerations are now less of a focus. 

“This is something that we feel needs to be urgently addressed in the later stages of the Bill’s progression through the Scottish Parliament.”

Barton Willmore will now discuss the survey findings with organisations such as the Scottish Property Federation, Homes for Scotland and RTPI Scotland.

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