‘Time to build on improved planning performance momentum’



Nicola Barclay
Nicola Barclay

Industry body Homes for Scotland has welcomed latest Scottish Government planning performance statistics which indicate a reduction in the time taken to decide major housing developments for Q2 2015/16 – from 64 to 34.4 weeks since the last quarter.

Figures released yesterday revealed that in quarter two (July to September) of 2015/16 there were 25 decisions made on major housing developments with an average decision time of 34.4 weeks. This was 30 weeks quicker than the previous quarter (64.4 weeks) and 4 weeks quicker than the equivalent quarter in 2014/15 (38.5 weeks).

For the 1,426 decisions made on local housing developments the average decision time of 13.1 weeks was 3 days quicker than the previous quarter (13.6 weeks) and 8 days quicker than the equivalent quarter in 2014/15 (14.3 weeks).

There were a further twelve major housing applications concluded that were subject to separate processing agreements, of which seven (58 per cent) met the agreed timescale that had been set between the developer and the local authority. There were also a further 34 local housing applications concluded that were subject to separate processing agreements, of which 24 (71 per cent) met the agreed timescale.

Homes for Scotland warned that this momentum must continue to be built on if Scotland is to see enough homes of all tenures built to house its growing population.

Director of planning Nicola Barclay said: “Given that the previous quarter’s figures represented the slowest time yet to decide major housing developments, these latest statistics are certainly a step in the right direction towards the responsive system that we all want to see.

“In particular, the marked improvement in local housing development decisions (under 50 homes) to 13.1 weeks is welcome news for SME developers who were harshly affected by the downturn and remain vital to the future success of our industry.

“With the hope of a more streamlined planning system producing further improvement through the current independent review, this all represents largely positive news for our sector.  However, our optimism is tempered by the cuts in local government budgets detailed in yesterday’s draft Budget.  If we are to address demand and meet the diverse set of housing needs and aspirations of our growing population, it is crucial that local planning authorities are adequately resourced to fulfil their crucial role.”