Planning changes praised

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The Scottish Property Federation (SPF) has welcomed proposed changes to Scotland’s planning system, which places greater importance on supporting sustainable economic growth.

The draft version of Scotland’s two key planning documents – the third National Planning Framework (NPF3) and draft Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) – influence how planning authorities deal with all applications and establish a vision of the core values and purpose of the planning system.

Scottish ministers have also reinforced the importance of SPP as a material consideration, a move supported by SPF.

The NFP3 proposes 14 priorities where large-scale development – including property, transport and infrastructure – will take place, thereby providing certainty of government intentions for investors and the public.

David Melhuish, director of the SPF, said: “Scotland needs a growth-focused planning system that can act as a spur for jobs, and these proposals are a step in the right direction. It will be important for both the public and private sector to build on the support for economic activity that is reflected in the new SPP.

“The commitment and vision of the SPP and NPF3 must also be supported by taxation and regulatory choices, for example on property taxation and building standards that are competitive and proportionate. Otherwise we may deter investment and frustrate the ability of the private sector to drive economic recovery in Scotland.”