Planning Reform, COVID response and the impact on the Development Plan Review
The Scottish Government are progressing a wide reform of Scotland’s planning system. A programme of change to simplify and strengthen the planning system has commenced to ensure it better serves all of Scotland’s communities and reposition planning as a positive enabler of the high quality development our communities need. That means changes to legislation, to rethinking national planning priorities and policy, and to a digital future with better collaboration and more efficient processes.
Recent events have re-focussed priorities, changed approaches and opened up new opportunities, and the Programme for Government 2020-2021 (September 2020) wishes to build on the positive aspects of these, recognising that this is a time to be ambitious, to use the disruption of COVID to rethink how we do things and to treat the COVID challenge, not as a brake on our ambitions, but an accelerant.
The Scottish Government intend to publish an interim NPF4 position statement in autumn 2020, explaining how it will align with other Scottish Government strategies, setting out an overview of the key challenges, opportunities and potential policy changes for NPF4 and reflecting on the impacts of COVID and what NPF4 can do to help societal and economic recovery. It is anticipated that a draft NPF4 will be laid before Parliament in autumn 2021. Following this there will be extensive public consultation and a final version of NPF4 is anticipated in spring 2022.
The timetable for the LDP Review identifies that, if it is progressed in line with the timescales given in Circular 6/2013, which from previous experience are considered optimistic, it would take 20 months until the LDP would be ready for adoption. This would mean adopting the LDP Review in spring 2022, exactly when the final version of NPF4 is expected.
It is therefore considered that, while work should continue on the LDP in terms of structure, policy formulation, consideration of sites and site assessments, it would be unwise to pursue the Plan to adoption when it would almost immediately be superseded by NPF4, particularly considering the new status of NPF4 policies.
It is therefore proposed to work up a reviewed LDP alongside the Production of NPF4 and any Regional Spatial Strategy and proceed to adoption as quickly as possible after NPF4 is approved. This may mean undertaking some additional consultation stages and incorporating new processes under the 2019 Act, but this is considered preferable to producing a plan which may almost immediately be considered out of date and could include policies which do not fully align with those of NPF4.
For further information please e-mail email@example.com or contact Graeme Finlay (Principal Planner, Development Plans) on 01259 452 643.
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