The Scottish Government has launched a consultation into the future of planning system.
The relevant Scottish Government web page tells us:
This consultation seeks views on how the planning service can be more effectively resourced and focused on quality of service. The paper also seeks views on options for amending the fee structure for planning applications.
The Ministerial Foreword states:
Planning was identified in the Economic Recovery Plan as one of the key drivers to build economic success. Over the past two years, Scotland's planning system has undergone substantial reform. Its success is contingent on both the public and private sectors fully playing their part in supporting new investment and unlocking Scotland's economic potential. Changes in culture, greater emphasis on facilitating development and in securing sustainable economic growth remain crucial.
The Scottish Government is working with COSLA, local authorities, key agencies and the development industry to ensure we have a modern, future-facing planning system which is properly resourced in order to deliver quality outcomes.
This consultation looks at how planning can be resourced more effectively in the context of public sector constraints and slower rates of development. It explores alternative delivery options and proposes fee structures that are more proportionate in the longer term.
Table 1 of the consultation document gives Comparisons of Fees between Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland and makes illuminating reading. A little further into the PDF on page 8 you can find mention of Highland Council:
Case Study - Highland Council - Pre-Application Discussion
In January 2009, Highland Council launched its Pre-Application Advice Service ( PAAS). This is an initiative between Highland Council and agencies ( SNH, SEPA, Transport Scotland and the NHS). The process is initiated by the developer requesting a pre-application advice meeting, which are held every 4 weeks. Following each PAAS meeting, there is a three week period for attendees to form their response to the proposal. The Council collates the individual responses into a single Pre-Application Advice Pack which is issued to the developer within 4 weeks of the meeting.
The PAAS programme has dealt with over 30 major developments and its success has been recognised through the award of the Highland Council's 2009 Award for Contribution to the Local Economy 11. Highland Council have also recently won the Homes for Scotland Key Agency Working Award for their pre-application service.
The Scottish Government is inviting written responses to this consultation paper by Friday 15 October 2010.
I am so looking forward to reading all the responses to this consultation, and maybe even putting in a few words of my own.