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March 6, 2019

Connected up planning

The Planning Bill, which is readying itself for the final leg of its tortuous journey through the parliamentary process – already it is the most amended Bill in the history of the Scottish Parliament – has some elements that seem on more solid ground than others. One of these is the idea that the next National Planning Framework and Scottish Planning Policy should be more useful and connected to what actually happens in communities than has previously been the case. Scottish Government has commissioned some research into what this means from a rural perspective.

Scottish Government

The research has been commissioned by the Scottish Government. It is being undertaken by the Scottish rural planning team at Savills and by the research institute Inherit, which is part of an independent charity.

The research is being undertaken to provide an evidence base to inform the future preparation of the National Planning Framework (NPF) and Scottish Planning Policy (SPP). NPF is a long-term strategy of the Scottish Government that provides a framework for spatial developments and other strategically important development opportunities in Scotland. SPP is Scottish Government policy on how land use planning matters should be addressed across the country.                                                     

The Planning (Scotland) Bill is currently being considered by parliament. It proposes that NPF and SPP are combined and have a statutory status in decision making on planning applications. Preparation of NPF4 will not begin until after the content of the Bill has been agreed by Parliament. At present, it is expected that NPF4 will look ahead to 2050.

At this early stage ahead of the review process commencing, to inform the evidence base for NPF4, we are:

·         drawing together a national picture of communities across rural Scotland;

·         seeking to identify the future needs of rural communities and businesses, as relevant to planning;

·         exploring how these future needs are likely to translate into development on the ground over the next 30 years or so;

·         looking at future opportunities to support the diversification of land use in rural areas;

·         asking whether there are particular types of development that will act as a catalyst and generate wider positive change for rural communities and businesses.

It is important that the research is informed directly by rural communities and businesses, by the organisations that represent them and by others with a particular interest. Your response to this survey will help to achieve that.

There are 17 questions in the survey in four sections: About you; Types of ‘rural’; Future needs of rural communities and businesses; and Supporting positive changes for rural communities and businesses.

With the exception of the questions in the initial ‘About you’ section of the survey, you can skip a question if it is not relevant to you.

Survey closes on March 22nd