‘Over half’ of local planning decisions overturned by Scottish Government

'Over half' of local planning decisions overturned by Scottish Government

Local authorities were overruled on more than half of all planning appeals in the last year, the Scottish Conservatives have revealed.

Freedom of Information responses obtained by the party show that out of 151 planning appeal decisions in 2022-23, 80 were overturned, and 71 were rejected.

That means 53% of appeals were overturned by the Scottish Government.

The FOI also reveals that more than £4 million was spent deciding on these appeals, with figures from the Planning and Environmental Appeals decision showing that they have spent £22m worth of taxpayers’ money on planning decisions since 2017.

Shadow finance and local government secretary Liz Smith says the government has “rode roughshod” over local communities for far too long.

She says that it is “typical” of ministers who love centralisation rather than letting those who would be affected have the final say.

Liz Smith’s colleague Miles Briggs MSP is planning on bringing forward a bill that would stop ministers from overruling local councils.

Scottish Conservative shadow cabinet secretary for local government, Liz Smith MSP, said: “Overruling local authorities in over half of planning decisions sums up the arrogance at the heart of this SNP-Green government.

“They repeatedly act like they know best when it comes to local communities and have rode roughshod over local democracy for far too long. Local planning decisions are made best by those who will be affected by them, not by those living many miles away in Edinburgh.

“Not only are these decisions overturning decisions by local authorities, they are costing taxpayers millions of pounds. The SNP have failed to properly fund our councils during their 16 years in power and treat them with further contempt by overturning so many planning appeals.

“It is time our councils got the respect they deserve which is why I’m delighted my colleague Miles Briggs is bringing plans forward to stop ministers in Edinburgh meddling in local planning decisions. I hope that can become law as soon as possible, in light of these figures.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson responded: “The vast majority of planning applications are determined by local authorities. Of the many thousands of applications determined last year, just 151 were appealed.

“Most appeals to ministers are decided by an independent reporter, who is required to take into account local views and make a decision on the planning merits of each case in accordance with the local development plan, unless other factors indicate otherwise.”

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