'Woeful' data

Major housing plans taking over a year to process

Jane Wood
Jane Wood: woeful figures (pic: Terry Murden)

Major housing developments are now being held up for over a year because of the time being taken to process planning applications. 

New data for the first two quarters reveals that it took an average of 62.1 weeks against the 16 week statutory timeframe and despite a 41% collapse in the number of applications for developments of more than 50 homes over the same period last year.

The data comes after the Scottish Government slashed the planning budget by almost half.

Homes for Scotland chief executive Jane Wood described the figures as “woeful” and “simply unacceptable” and said this was not what successful planning looks like.

“The Scottish Government must get Scotland’s planning system sorted,” she said.

“These figures highlight the scale of investment in planning services that is required at a time when the Scottish Government has announced a 43% reduction in the planning budget from £11.7m to £6.6m.   

“They also show the critical need for immediate short-term solutions. 

“We have already submitted the urgent actions we believe need to be taken by the Scottish Government and want to work with ministers and officials to implement meaningful change as quickly as possible.”  

Hamilton’s urban village plan

Hamilton’s proposed new look (Pic: Threesixty architecture)

South Lanarkshire council plans to repurpose retail space in Hamilton and build up to 450 homes in an “urban village”. The scheme will see a 70% reduction in retail.

Threesixty Architecture is leading on the plan, which will involve the demolition of two shopping centres, New Cross and Regent Street, both of which have suffered high vacancy rates.

About a fifth of the homes will be dedicated to social housing.

A variety of end uses are also being explored for the Bairds Building, which could be demolished, refurbished or used as a temporary events venue. Likewise, the historic Vogue Bingo building could live on as a multipurpose building following facade retention.

Student or hotel accommodation could be built on the site of Duke Street car park and an active travel corridor could better connect the town to its station. 

Council leader Joe Fagan said: “This is a bold and exciting proposal that would totally transform the look and atmosphere of Hamilton town centre.

“This approach is consistent with that being proposed across the country and I believe it is key to revitalising the whole town centre area.”

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