10 Landmark Moments in Scottish Planning in 2014

RTPI Scotland Director Craig McLaren sets out what he thinks were the key milestones in the year.

2014 was an exciting and busy year for planning in Scotland. It contained a number of important publications, announcements, new policies and legislation that will live with us beyond 2014.  Here’s my thoughts on ten of the most significant, in no particular order:

  1. The 3rd National Planning Framework is published providing a framework for the spatial development of Scotland as a whole, and including 14 national developments identified to deliver the strategy.
  2. The revised Scottish Planning Policy is published. The document includes a new “presumption in favour of development contributing to sustainable development”.
  3. RICS Scotland publish the report of their Housing Commission. Recommendations include that Scottish Government establishes a Scottish Land Delivery Agency and that it endorses effective provision in growing areas by enabling the delivery of six to eight major new communities
  4. The Historic Environment Scotland Act receives Royal Assent. This paves the way for new organisation Historic Environment Scotland
  5. Alex Neil replaces Derek Mackay as Planning Minister and planning is moved from the economic growth portfolio to social justice.
  6. Homes for Scotland Chair Sandy Adams was vocal on the need for planning to be more proactive and positive whilst research undertaken by Heads of Planning Scotland showed that only 73.8% of the costs of processing a planning application are met by planning fees.
  7. The Regulatory Reform (Scotland) Act receives Royal Assent. This introduces a clause where planning authorities who are deemed to have underperformed by Scottish Ministers can have their planning fees reduced.  The criteria and process for this should be announced in 2015.
  8. The Town Centres First Principle is agreed by Scottish Government and COSLA. The new principle is welcomed by RTPI Scotland though it is stressed that there is a need to monitor and report on its implementation.
  9. Dundee Waterfront is named as Scotland’s Best Place. RTPI Scotland’s Best Places initiative was organised to highlight how planners, planning and the planning profession have created, enhanced or protected great streets, neighbourhoods, towns and cities across Scotland over the last 100 years.
  10. New approaches to community engagement, empowerment and land ownership are developed. The Community Empowerment Bill is published along with the report of the Land Reform Review Group

There will, undoubtedly, be some I’ve missed. It would be good to hear of any you think should be on the list, or , indeed, any that shouldn’t…


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