Chief planner asks councils to embrace the potential of PRS
Council planners have been urged to consider the potential of the private rented sector (PRS) in meeting housing need and demand in their area.
The Scottish Government’s chief planner, John McNairney, has written to the heads of planning of all Scotland’s 32 local authorities to “draw their attention to this emerging area of the market and the opportunities which it presents to expand the supply of new housing in Scotland”.
In the letter, Mr McNairney highlights the PRS as one of the government’s priorities for expanding housing supply and encourages planners to adopt “a flexible approach” in dealing with PRS planning applications.
According to the letter, the Scottish Government is set to produce planning advice covering the delivery of additional PRS units, including the challenges and characteristics of the sector.
Mr McNairney said: “The Scottish Ministers attach importance to increasing delivery of high quality housing developments. New build PRS has the potential to become an additional route to quickly expand housing supply, helping to provide people with flexible housing options. The Scottish Government is accordingly working to encourage a thriving new build PRS, which provides good quality, well-managed homes that are constructed to the highest energy standards.
“As part of this commitment, funding has been provided to the home building industry body Homes for Scotland to enable the appointment of Gerry More as a PRS Champion. Supported by a working party of experts, he has been exploring opportunities to unlock large-scale PRS development in Scotland, backed by institutional investment. I would encourage you to consider the potential of PRS in meeting housing need and demand in your area and to adopt a flexible approach in dealing with planning applications.”
He added: “PRS is one of our priorities for expanding housing supply and Scottish Ministers expect decision-makers to provide a positive and flexible approach to development, as set out in Scottish Planning Policy (SPP). SPP also aims to achieve the right development in the right place; this includes making efficient use of existing capacities of land, buildings and infrastructure and contributing to sustainable development.
“Planning guidance is currently being produced on housing and infrastructure delivery, and more information about the characteristics and challenges of PRS will be provided as part of this document.”