Concept of 20-minute neighbourhoods should be embedded in government policy, says RTPI Scotland

Concept of 20-minute neighbourhoods should be embedded in government policy, says RTPI Scotland

The Scottish Government should carry out a review of planning policy and practice to ensure that the concept of 20 minute neighbourhoods becomes a golden thread running through the planning system, the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has said.

It comes as Scotland embarks on efforts to rebuild its communities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a new report published yesterday, RTPI Scotland says on-going planning reform in Scotland, including the implementation of the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019, provides an excellent opportunity to update a range of planning policy, development management and public service delivery, to reflect the importance of 20-minute neighbourhoods.

Barbara Cummins, convenor of RTPI Scotland, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound and lasting impact across the world. Planning, as a proactive and visionary profession, must play a pivotal role in supporting a post-Covid recovery and reinventing our places.

“The concept of 20-minute neighbourhoods, where daily services can be accessed within a 20-minute walk, has gained significant traction across the world as a means of supporting this recovery, so we are calling on the Scottish government to conduct a review in order to embed this concept into planning policy, to support delivery through development management and place-based partnership.”

RTPI Scotland is urging policymakers to come up with a common understanding of the key components of a 20-minute neighbourhoods in the National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) and through the publication of revised ‘Designing Streets’ and ‘Creating Places’ national policies.

It said enhanced emphasis on placemaking should include fundamental placemaking principles behind 20-minute neighbourhoods so planners can refuse proposals that are not in keeping, in the knowledge that those refusals will be upheld at appeal.

The report also calls for the digital planning approaches to be used to collect, analyse and visualize robust data to inform Local Development Plans (LDPs) and also recommends a review of the Development Planning and Management Transport Appraisal Guidance (DPMTAG), which is used to assess the impact of LDP strategies on transport networks.

Other recommendations include embedding the 20-minute neighbourhood concept into Planning (Scotland) 2019 Act provisions for play sufficiency assessments and Open Space strategies and integrating a 20-minute neighbourhood design-led approach into different stages of the pre-application process.

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