Home Thoughts from Abroad
Sparked off by today's electronic Berwickshire.
The extract below is from Euan Robson's 'Mound Notes'. Our MSP is on one of his favourite topics: Planning. Our local experience has been that any proposal put forward by developers to do with housing has a strong presumption for approval whatever the views of the local community. What is more heartening is that planning propsals out with the areas mentioned by the local development plan have a presumption of failure. I hope our MSP is correct as we still live in the shadow of highly inppropriate development, strongly opposed by most of the community-and in this case 'people power' seems to have kept it out of our draft local plan-pending any appeals of course. Mr R has been very helpful over planning matters and I hope we don't have to quote his words back to him one dreer day
"AS mentioned in previous columns, a Planning Bill is going through the Scottish Parliament at the present time. When enacted, the new law will bring about changes to existing legislation in several areas.Too often the planning system is seen as being there to stop things happening. Planning as the word suggests should be about how to develop for the future and engaging the community in that process. Hence there is an emphasis in the clauses of the legislation on community involvement which has hitherto been understated. Community involvement will, particularly, be enhanced in the production of local development plans. These plans are to be updated every five years with a mid point evaluation process over that period of time. The local development plan will carry greater authority. Land identified for development will carry with it a strong presumption of planning approval in principle. Conversely, land excluded in the plans for development will carry a greater presumption against
development. Together this should ensure clarity for developers and local residents alike.Other changes will include greater speed and efficiency in handling planning decisions, a significant reduction in the number of small items requiring planning permission, greater devolving of responsibility to planning department officials with rights of appeal to elected members thereafter. A welcome change away from the developer providing neighbour notification to the local council doing so will be enacted as will a reduction in the maximum time allowed for a development to commence to a period of three years and there will be some restriction of appeals by developers against local authority decisions'