THE PLANNING (SCOTLAND) BILL
Angela Constance, the Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities introduced the Planning (Scotland) Bill on 4th December 2017. This Bill was subsequently published on the Scottish Parliament’s website on 5th December 2017.
The Local Government and Communities Committee has now launched a call for written responses on the Planning (Scotland) Bill. All responses should be submitted by 2nd February 2018.
AUTUMN BUDGET 2017
The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced the 2017 budget at the end of November. The Scottish Government will see their budget increase by £2 Million over the next three years and negotiations have begun for both the ‘Tay Cities Deal’ and the ‘Stirling City Deal’, with financial commitments to these deals expected to be confirmed in 2018. A new growth deal is also expected for the ‘Borderlands’, which is to include Dumfries & Galloway Council, the Scottish Borders Council, Carlisle City Council, Northumberland County Council and Cumbria County Council.
City Deals such as the Tay Cities Deal, the Stirling City Deal and the Borderland Cities Deal can give local areas specific powers and freedoms to assist with economic growth, the creation of jobs and investment within local projects. Bidwells will continue to monitor these deals and provide regular updates.
WITHDRAWAL OF KEY SCOTTISH PLANNING POLICY
On the 30th November 2017, the Scottish Government’s Chief Planner John McNairney announced the withdrawal of a key draft policy which covered Planning Delivery Advice on Housing and Infrastructure.
It was hoped that this document would provide a greater deal of clarity and a consensus on housing and infrastructure delivery, however due to continuing disagreement and concerns over the weight placed on this draft, it has now been withdrawn. The document will not be replaced as Scottish Government will focus their time and resources on the Planning (Scotland) Bill instead. Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) and Planning Advice Note (PAN) 2/2010 remain key documents and keep Scotland in a strong position in planning for housing delivery.
SELF-BUILD LOAN FUND
After a successful pilot in the Highlands, the Scottish Government has announced a £4 million Self-Build Loan Fund which is expected to give financial aid to those wishing to build or custom-make their own homes.
The fund will be open to applicants from Autumn 2018 and will cover a three-year period. The prematurity of the announcement allows applicants time to investigate plots and obtain planning consents. Bidwells would be delighted to offer advice in respect of your development aspirations.
PLANNING LAW UPDATE
Our Graduate Planner, Amelia Smith attended Shepherd and Wedderburn’s annual Planning Law Update Seminar at the end of 2017, in Edinburgh. The seminar provided Amelia with a fantastic opportunity to gain an understanding of planning legislation updates and changes which have occurred over the last year. Topics included EIA regulations, the Planning (Scotland) Bill, the Scottish Energy Strategy, Community Right to Buy and Housing Guidance (Private Rented Sector and Build to Rent).
A particularly important topic was the rising popularity of the Build to Rent sector and its relevance to town planning. If planned effectively, Build to Rent schemes across the UK could contribute to solving the housing crisis through the supply of high quality, affordable homes on the rental market. These schemes require less land than the average housing scheme and would therefore use less greenfield land. The rise in this type of scheme should be considered by local authorities when creating new policies and guidance as the requirements for these schemes differ in terms of design requirements, developer contributions, affordable housing and density.