Alistair MacDonald, Convenor of RTPI Scotland, responds to Bill Jamieson’s article criticising planners.
It is unfortunate that Bill Jamieson took a negative stance in relation to the performance of planning authorities in his article Shovels Ready but Planners are Not in Scotland on Sunday on 20 January.
Mr Jamieson’s article trots out well worn, but unfounded, clichés about planners not taking responsibility, being lazy and wanting to stop things from happening. He also appears to have a selective view of the recent debate in Parliament on planning, which to appeared to be much more positive than Mr Jamieson makes out.
RTPI Scotland does not condone poor performance. That is why we are working with Scottish Government, Heads of Planning Scotland and others to support planning authorities to continuously improve. As part of this, we have endorsed the new Planning Performance Framework that will give a clear measure of progress in planning authorities across Scotland. We are also working with Scottish Government to identify where we can streamline the system and get rid of those processes which do not add value.
We want to ensure that we have a planning system that is fit for purpose and that is able to deliver the right developments in the right places at the right time. This recognises the skills and expertise that planners have in working with developers, investors and communities in developing solutions for our cities, town and villages. And it accepts the need for the system to be adequately resourced so that it is able to make decisions properly and quickly.
We will continue to build on this so that we develop a ‘can-do’ planning system and planning profession which creates great places for people across Scotland. We’d be happy if Mr Jamieson wants to contribute constructively to that discussion…