>> 31 August 2010

Gordon MSP Alex Salmond has welcomed the publication by the Scottish Government of updated planning advice, which focuses on ensuring communities can make their voices heard more effectively in the planning system.

The planning advice note encourages engagement with communities from the earliest possible stage to enable views to be reflected in development plans and on individual proposals. By doing so, it is hoped that delays for communities and developers alike will then be less likely.

Mr Salmond said:

“This is a significant development. We’ve long recognised the important role planning plays in building strong and sustainable economic growth in Scotland and the interest of communities in development plans and proposals. However, we also want to ensure that planning authorities and developers are clear on the need to engage with communities when policies are developed, and when planning proposals are being brought forward.

“We believe increased public engagement can produce more satisfactory outcomes and help avoid delays in the planning system. Publication of the document builds on our wider ongoing work with planning authorities, agencies and the private sector to deliver a modern, efficient and fit for purpose planning system."

Transport and Infrastructure Minister Stewart Stevenson added:

"Initiatives such as the Scottish Government's National Planning Framework, which identifies the key strategic infrastructure Scotland needs, and the introduction of consolidated, easier-to-understand planning policy, are geared towards simplifying the planning process.

"With increased collaboration across the public sector, and better public engagement, we can ensure planning makes the fullest possible contribution to economic development, providing developers and communities alike with more certainty.

"We will shortly be publishing a report on the Charette series held earlier this year. The Charrettes are a truly innovative and exciting approach to empowering communities that the Scottish Government is pioneering on a national scale. They allow people to positively shape the decision-making process in their communities in a dynamic and effective way, improving the quality, attractiveness and success of places across Scotland."

Scottish Government policy on community engagement in the planning system is contained in Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) which was published in February 2010. SPP recognises that effective engagement with the public can lead to better plans, better decisions and more satisfactory outcomes and can help to avoid delays in the planning process. It also improves confidence in the fairness of the planning system.

The Scottish Sustainable Communities Initiative (SSCI) Charrette Series took place throughout March 2010 and involved an innovative and interactive approach to public engagement in order to develop community-informed masterplans.

The Charrette series involved three of the exemplar projects selected by the SSCI at Lochgelly in Fife, Ladyfield in Dumfries and Grandhome on the edge of Aberdeen.

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