Landowners call for planning review to ensure flexibility of rural policy aspects

scottish-land-and-estatesFlexible rural planning policies must be ensured in any future changes to Scotland’s planning system, the country’s landowners have said.

Scottish Land & Estates made the request in evidence submitted to the Scottish Government’s independent panel appointed to review the planning system.

The organisation also said a joined-up approach between planning and land reform should be adopted.

Katy Dickson, policy officer for business and property, said: “We are clear that the review of the planning system should be integrated with likely forthcoming changes in land reform and land use strategy policies. The development of these policy strands are currently disconnected despite clear overlaps in dealing with issues of land resource and the delivery of public benefits from land.

“It is fundamentally important that there is flexibility of planning policies in rural areas. Unfortunately, we have seen many examples where this is lacking including where one of our members, Dormont Estates in Dumfriesshire, struggled to have appropriate street-scaping of a new affordable housing development approved. The policy determined there should be pavements, white lines and street lamps but this was inappropriate for the rural setting.

“We support the multi-tiered approach to development planning but would welcome the introduction of streamlining mechanisms to reduce unnecessary delays and costs.

“Community engagement is recognised as a critical element of the planning system and we believe that this should be as proactive and vision focused as possible, rather than being limited to individual applications or indeed taking place at the latter stages of the planning process. We would welcome the public gaining further insight to the planning system and understanding how and when they can engage.”

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