Please send me SCA's fortnightly briefing:

< Back to '29th May 2019' briefing

May 29, 2019

Planning Bill is back

Earlier this month, Planning Democracy convened its annual gathering which was inspiring and therapeutic in equal measure. Inspiring because of the many tales being told of the unstinting efforts by communities to engage with a planning system that appears so stacked against them. And therapeutic because of all the support and advice that was being shared so freely between participants. Much talk at the conference of how (or if) the Scottish Government could salvage this much amended piece of legislation. The Planning Minister has now published what will be debated next month. PD’s Clare Symonds proposes some next steps.

Planning Democracy

Dear People Powered Planning Conference delegates

Thank you all so much for coming and taking part in our conference and for being so engaged and interested.

I attach a conference report for you, which has links to the workshop presentations and summaries of the talks by our speakers. We will endeavour to put as much on our website in the near future. Andy Inch’s presentation is being turned into a blog post which should be out next week. To receive our regular but not too often blog posts you can sign up to receive emails on our website.


The Minister has this week posted his amendments to the planning bill online.

This means it is likely the planning bill will be finalised in a parliamentary debate in mid to late June.

We need to act now to keep pressure up.

We know that the developer lobbyists have been working very hard indeed to get what they want out of the Bill and have been wining and dining ministers and having numerous meetings. It is essential we try and keep up the pressure from the community side.

We urge you to write and go and see your MSP’s (remember you have 1 constituency and 7 regional MSPs), but also to contact the Minister Kevin Stewart ( You can tweet him on @KevinStewartSNP or send a message to his facebook page It is also good to contact Nicola Sturgeon and Ruth Davidson (especially asking them to consider equal rights of appeal).


Key things to say to MSPs

1) Planning is a big issue for communities is not going to go away unless they address fundamental problems. You can remind them that their own research and independent research demonstrated a shocking lack of trust and lack of influence over decisions that affect people. Many topics were covered at our conference. Please tell them that the community was sending a clear message that we need a more transformative bill that addresses the problems of a market driven approach to planning, which favours and listens to the developers it is supposed to regulate.

2) Climate change, biodiversity loss need to be addressed through the planning bill and in its current form is not good enough.

3) Community engagement mechanisms such as Local Place Plans and development plan consultations will never be adequate without a right of appeal and are unlikely to empower communities.

4) The Government should be listening to communities asking for stronger, better planning, not developers asking for less planning and de regulation.


I have attached our briefings on Equal Rights of Appeal. Please do quote them, or send them on to your MSPs.


Please do let us have a copy of any responses you get and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need more information.


You may find these blog posts useful as well and

Many thanks for taking the time to come to our conference, please do continue to support Planning Democracy and importantly right now to make a real noise about planning and what we want. (We have some plans for a bit of fun action in June, we will keep you informed if you have indicated or signed up to our blog posts). If you do not wish to be kept up to date you can let us know too.