Monday 24 February 2014

NPF3 - 'What the Committee heard'

Further to the previous post on NPF3 progress, 

I have not read through all of the submissions to the latest stage of scrutiny (see below for the list of submissions on NPF3 to the Local Government and Regeneration Committee - and others - and how I located this list) but it appears that some groups are not too happy with quite a few things in and about the Proposed NPF3 (they are not happy with the 60 day parliamentary scrutiny period particularly) and are telling the Parliamentary Committee just that.

'Planning Democracy' remains very concerned as does  'The John Muir Trust' and 'RSPB Scotland'.  'Planning Aid Scotland' expresses some concerns too.  All these submissions are well worth a read.

Regular readers will recognise the sentiments expressed here, taken from the list response '10' from 'Nestrans':

"...However, very little consideration is given in the Proposed Framework to the implications of the projected growth, particularly as it applies to infrastructure requirements to facilitate that growth. "

Responses '4' and '6' on the list (Holder Planning and Brodies LLP) put forward the idea of merging National Planning Frameworks and Scottish Planning Policy, NPF and SPP, into one document.

I will need to read the RTPI response more thoroughly as well as that from the 'Heads of Planning Scotland' which was submitted by their chairperson, Malcolm Macleod.

[I clicked on the link Scottish Parliament's 'Committees' page then visited the 'Local Government and Regeneration Committee's' web page.  

From that page I clicked on the link to NPF3 and SPP under 'Current Business' and then clicked on 'Written Submissions Received' - which is under the 'Evidence' section.

The list below can be found at the 'evidence' link 

Submissions received as part of NPF3 and SPP Inquiry

Progress on National Planning Framework 3 (NPF3)

Latest just in from Scottish Government newsletter:

...Over the past month four Parliamentary committees have been taking written and oral evidence as part of their scrutiny of Proposed NPF3.  This has included evidence sessions with Derek Mackay MSP, Minister for Local Government and Planning, Keith Brown MSP, Minister for Transport and Veterans and Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Environment and Climate Change.

The written and oral evidence can be found on the four committees on the Scottish Parliament's Committees page.

For those with a hard copy Proposed NPF3 please note an erratum was published on February 5, 2014. 

Online versions of Proposed NPF3 have already been amended.


Chief Planner - Change to contact e-mail address

You should be aware that the new email contact for the Chief Planner, John McNairney is

We would be grateful if all future correspondence for Mr McNairney's attention, be sent to the Chief Planner mailbox.

PAD Introductory Event

Planning and Architecture Division's Introductory Events are held over the course of a day. The free sessions are open to all and are designed to build an awareness of, and offer an opportunity to discuss, current Scottish Government planning policy initiatives.
If you are interested in attending please email Iain McLeod.

Stakeholder Survey

Thank you to everyone who took part in our stakeholder survey.  The feedback is invaluable and will help inform our service improvement plan for 2014-15.

Friday 14 February 2014

Remember! Remember!

Well, my word, is it really more than 3 months since I have posted anything?  I must admit signing in today I had almost forgotten what to do!

It seems a little too late for 'Happy New Year', but, there, I have said it anyway.

There has been a lot going on planning wise and I have been quite busy with various responses.

Here is a quick 'catch-up' and a few links to some items that readers might find interesting.

  • For the latest information on the 'Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan' click here

  • Latest on the Development Plan Scheme click on the Planning, Environment and Development Committee link just below

Extract from committee agenda

13. Development Plan Scheme Update
Fios as √ôr mu Sgeama Plana Leasachaidh

There is circulated Report No. Ped-15-14 (464kb pdf) dated 24 January 2014 by the Director of Planning and Development outlining the content of the Development Plan Scheme (DPS), attached as Appendix 1 to the report, which provides an up to date position on the Council’s timescales for preparing its Development Plan documents.  This includes the steps toward adoption of the Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan and the initial stages of the Caithness and Sutherland Local Development Plan (CaSPlan).  This year the DPS has been updated to illustrate how the Council proposes to incorporate the Scottish Government’s focus on an outcome driven planning system in its emerging Development Plans.

The Committee is asked to agree the content of the 2014 Development Plan Scheme in order that the document be submitted to the Plain English Campaign and subsequently submitted to the Scottish Ministers.

  • Latest info re 'The Third National Planning Framework' at link here

Following consideration of the responses to the public consultation on the Main Issues Report (MIR) for NPF3, a Proposed NPF3 was laid in the Scottish Parliament on January 14, 2014.
The Proposed NPF3 is subject to Parliamentary scrutiny for a 60 day period until March 24, 2014.  Further details of how the Parliament will scrutinise the Proposed NPF3 and you can get involved can be found on the Parliament’s website.

  • From 'Planning'


'...It was submitted that the inspector placed too much emphasis on the developer’s desire to make a profit and, whilst he had observed that it was "not the role of the planning system to insure the landowner against loss", he had effectively done just that.
 However, in upholding the inspector’s decision, the court ruled that he had been entitled to focus on the substantial shortfall of housing land in the City...'

Friday 1 November 2013

'Planning Aid Scotland - new website and information sheets"

News just in

"Planning Aid Scotland launches new website and information sheets

Planning Aid Scotland recently launched its new website.  The aim is to make it easier for members of the public, community groups and local authorities to find the information they need.
A new set of updated and consolidated information sheets on the planning system have been published. You can visit the new website at: "

Wednesday 30 October 2013

At last a 'little something' on 'NPF3 and SPP'

Extracts from emails received this week - PLEASE NOTE WELL THE SENTENCES I HAVE HIGHLIGHTED

The responses to consultations on Draft SPP have been analysed independently and the
reports of this analysis are available at:

 Full analysis:
 Report of main findings:

Following initial consideration of the responses, it is clear that the intention to include
separate principal policies on ‘sustainable economic growth’ and ‘sustainable development’
raised a number of issues, with calls for clarification on the relationship between both
policies and on how economic considerations were to be balanced against social and
environmental factors. To address this, the Scottish Government is now consideringreplacing these separate policies with a single principal policy on ‘Sustainability andPlanning’ and introducing a presumption in favour of sustainable development into the SPP.

A further public consultation on this change began on October 28, 2013 with copies of the
consultation paper plus associated documents available on the Scottish Government website

Responses are requested by December 16, 2013. Should you require further information onthis consultation, please e-mail the SPP Review Team at

The public consultation on the National Planning Framework 3: Main Issues Report closed
on 30 July 2013. The responses have been analysed independently and the reports of this
analysis is now available on the Scottish Government’s website at:

 Full analysis:
 Report of main findings:

Individual responses to the consultations are also available to view by following the links at:

'...the Proposed Planwill be laid before Parliament in January 2014, and as soon as possible after recess ends on5 January. As you will be aware, the NPF3 Proposed Plan is subject to 60 dayParliamentary scrutiny. The Minister has been keen to take on board comments aroundtiming expressed by the Committee and also in responses to the public consultation.

We will contact those who responded to the NPF3 public consultation again once the Proposed Plan has been laid before Parliament.

Extended timescale for the finalisation of Scottish Planning Policy

The Minister has also recently announced that the timetable for the completion of work on
the review of the SPP is to be aligned with the publication of NPF3. The expected

publication date of the SPP is now June 2014.

Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan (Proposed Plan)

Extract from a THC press release HERE

'...A 6 week public consultation on the Proposed Plan will run from 1st November – 13th December 2013.  The Council has designed the Plan as an interactive online document that can be accessed through the Council’s website where comments on the Plan should also be made.'

More on this at a later date...

Friday 18 October 2013

Proposed amendments to Highland Council Service structure

 Extract from HC Press Release HERE

...Highland Councillors will be asked next week to amend the Council’s Service structure to align teams into five Services rather than the current seven, delivering year-on-year savings of £350,000 from 2014/15.

...The proposed new Services are:-
•  Children, Education and Adult Services
•  Finance
•  Corporate Development
•  Capital and Development
•  Community Services

 ...“The need to focus on improving the economy and creating jobs underpins the proposal to create a new Capital and Development Directorate in which all of the resources of the Council delivering capital developments are aligned with our teams which are supporting economic improvement.

Where will 'Planning and Development' fit?

Well this is Item 18 on the Agenda for next Thursday's Full Council meeting

18.  Proposed Amendments to Service Structure
Atharrachaidhean air am Moladh do Structar nan Seirbheisean

There is circulated Report No. HC-51-13 (990kb pdf) dated 14 October 2013 by the Chief Executive which details proposals to amend the Council’s Service structure to align teams into 5 Services rather than the current 7. The paper also describes the reasons for the changes and notes that a saving of £350k per annum will be delivered.

The Council is invited to agree:-

i.  the amendments to the Service structure as contained in Paragraphs 2.3 to
    2.8 and also summarised in Appendix 2 and that these be implemented in 2
    phases by 30 September 2014;
ii. that consultation with Trade Unions and Senior Managers should take place
    from 25 October 2013 and that detailed proposals relating to the deployment
    and responsibilities of posts in Service Management Teams be brought to the
    Council on 19 December 2013; and
iii. that the remits of Strategic Committees be reviewed to achieve better
    alignment with the revised Service structure and that a report and
    recommendations be brought to the Council on 19 December 2013.

The Committee Report  indicates in Appendix 2 (on the last page) that 'Planning' will sit in the new Directorate of 'Capital and Development'

Director of Capital & Development

Housing Devt 
Energy Mgt. 

Update - 'Biodiversity Offsetting'

For more info on the topic see item from 'Planning Resource'

How We Did It - Developer 'offsets' housing's impact on nature

(Project: Oxfordshire biodiversity offsetting scheme)

Thursday 26 September 2013

'Biodiversity offsetting'

News from South of the Border; the proposals for 'biodiversity offsetting' 

"Biodiversity offsets are conservation activities that are designed to give biodiversity benefits to compensate for losses - ensuring that when a development damages nature (and this damage cannot be avoided) new, bigger or better nature sites will be created. They are different from other types of ecological compensation as they need to show measurable outcomes that are sustained over time."

Views expressed on the subject include those from;

The Wildlife Trusts - who also say that they, "... are engaged in the Government’s six pilot schemes and believe that the lessons learned from these pilots will be critical in informing the design of any offsetting scheme."

The Country Land and Business Association - whose President states, "We are very glad Mr Paterson has today published this paper and we agree with his view that there is no reason why wildlife and development cannot flourish side by side" and "There are currently huge limitations on public funding for biodiversity and so the creation of environmental markets to fund this work is an excellent idea. It would be good news for the environment and for the rural economy."

And some believe that the offsetting proposals would be, '...a licence to trash nature'

Whilst others are quoted as saying;

...Tom Tew, chief executive of the Environment Bank, the company acting as the independent broker between planners and developers, told the paper: “I think FoE and others completely misunderstand how biodiversity offsetting works. It is not a licence to trash, it is the complete opposite. When you put a value on biodiversity, you are putting a financial incentive for developers not to trash it.”  Link HERE

...John Slaughter, director of policy at the Home Builders Federation, praised the way Defra was approaching the issue, after it pledged that biodiversity offsetting would not be introduced unless there was consensus that it would not add to development costs, slow down the planning system, or result in a net loss to the environment. 

Imperial College Conservation Society, ICCS, has produced this information

We live in interesting times, but one thing is certain, for any initiative to work everyone involved must be aware of all the implications and possibilities; there must be no difference in interpretation by any side.  There should be no scope for what ICCS refers to as, 'inappropriate application of the approach'.

Friday 20 September 2013

Strictly Come Dancing - back again next week!

At last my annual dose of escapism; the glitter and froth of 'Strictly Coming Dancing' is back next week!

Web page HERE

Supporting older people and disabled people at home - Case Studies

From the Government's web site:

'The Scottish Government is working to support older people and disabled people to live independently at home in their communities. Housing and housing-related support services have a key role to play in supporting independent living, both through the provision of housing that is physically suitable and through the delivery of support services. Housing-related support services range from information and advice to adaptations and handyperson services to social and community activities.'

More details HERE

A Guide for Mobile Home Owners in Scotland – Your Rights and Responsibilities - Scottish Government

This leaflet outlines the law on mobile homes that will apply from 1 September 2013. It does not cover all the details of the law, and you should contact your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau, or a solicitor, before making any decisions based on the information in this leaflet.


'Community and Enterprise in Scotland's Town Centres' - Report

Report HERE

Housing Bill - Programme for Government 2013-2014

"Better outcomes for communities will be secured through a number of provisions in the Bill. By ending all right to buy entitlements for social housing tenants, the Government  will protect the existing stock of social rent homes, enabling social landlords to help the many people in need of social housing. This will prevent the sale of up to 15,500 houses over the next 10 years. By increasing flexibility in the allocation and management of social housing, landlords will be able to deliver improved outcomes for their tenants and the communities they live in."

More details on Scottish Government web pages HERE

Draft Scottish Government Budget; Impact - homes for rent and A9 Acceleration

'We have accelerated our £3 billion plans for the A9 between Inverness and Perth, which will start in 2015-16.'

"The Scottish Government has committed to provide at least 30,000 additional affordable homes over the five years to 2015-16, of which at least 20,000 will be for social rent, including 5,000 new council homes. All affordable homes delivered with direct Scottish Government support in the form of subsidy, loan, guarantee or waiver of receipts are counted towards the target. In July 2013 we announced an increase in grant subsidy of £16,000 for every new council and housing association property for social rent. We have also boosted our budgets for new affordable homes considerably and will now invest over £970 million over the three year period to March 2015. These steps will maintain momentum in the programme, and deliver vital support for construction and house building companies throughout Scotland."