October 5, 2016
Rebalance the system
Last week MSPs from right across the political spectrum attended an event in the Parliament organised by Planning Democracy – a grassroots campaigning group who argue that the current planning system is fundamentally unfair and serves the interests of developers at the expense of communities. Scottish Government will be publishing a White Paper on the future of planning later this year and this is seen as a real opportunity to rebalance the system. Like it or not planning affects everyone so it’ll be well worth keeping an eye on this one.
PEOPLE’S VOICE IN PLANNING
Planning Democracy is a growing organisation with an ambitious mission to make planning more progressive and enabling for communities.
Planning is currently viewed negatively and is seen as a barrier to development rather than a tool to get better places built.
The system contains deep inequalities that need to be overcome before communities can meaningfully engage in planning.
Many people end up feeling traumatised and disempowered following their involvement in planning. This cost to communities is unrecognised, too frequently it is the cost to developers that gets attention.
Proposed reforms will do little to address these problems. People need assurance that the system is fair and their input will be listened to and that future planning results in better places to live in.
WE BELIEVE A TRULY TRANSFORMATIVE PLANNING SYSTEM CAN BE REALISED IF THE FOLLOWING ISSUES ARE ADDRESSED
· Capture land value – By introducing better mechanisms we could transform how we develop our cities, reducing existing incentives for speculative development on unallocated sites and funding infrastructure.
· Include powers of public land assembly – to direct development to desirable locations with adequate infrastructure
PUBLIC TRUST IN PLANNING CAN BE REBUILT IF WE:
· Incorporate properly developed, inclusive, community-led plans into Local Development Plans
· Strengthen the plan led system – Transform development plans into much more detailed documents that genuinely engage communities in their preparation. Ensure a presumption against development that is contrary to an agreed development plan.
· Investigate real barriers to early engagement including structural and cultural issues – We ask for an evidence-based inquiry into the strengths and limitations of current approaches and how they can be addressed.
· Stop calling people NIMBYs – People oppose developments for valid reasons; they want community NEEDS put before PROFITS
· Equalise the appeal process – Currently if a Developer makes a planning application and the Planning Authority rejects it the Developer CAN appeal the decision. But if a Planning Authority approve a development the affected Community CAN NOT appeal the decision – NOT FAIR!
· Tackle repeat applications and poor enforcement performance by planning authorities
· Regulate aggressive and unacceptable developer behaviour