Amendments should be made to Scottish Government planning policy to improve efficiency and transparency of the planning process, according to recommendations made by the Law Society of Scotland.

The Law Society’s Planning Law committee invited Scottish solicitors and interested stakeholders to share their views and experiences to inform a new report focused on the Scottish Government Planning Circular 3/2012.

Alastair McKie, the Law Society’s Planning Law committee convener, said: “The aim of the consultation was to shed light on current areas of uncertainty, establish the consensus on best practice and inform the Scottish Government’s work to drive consistency and reduce delays.

“The expert views of our members and stakeholders has made this possible and we are pleased to be submitting a comprehensive set of recommendations, addressing aspects of ‘the Act’ ranging from model agreements and in-house styles, heads of terms and processing agreements, parties to the agreement, site area, planning consents, liability and enforceability.

“We look forward to working with the Scottish Government to influence positive changes in this area of practice.”

Neil Langhorn from the Scottish Government’s Planning and Architecture Division said: “We’re very grateful to the Law Society of Scotland for this timely piece of work. We will consider the report’s recommendations as part of our wider review of planning obligations.”

The consultation, which ran between 25 November 2019 and 3 February 2020 generated 31 responses from a variety of respondents – solicitors in private practice, solicitors and non-solicitor staff employed by planning authorities and a range of organisations. Follow up virtual discussion events were held during April and May 2020, the output of which has also informed the report.

The report has been shared with the Scottish Government and will feed into their work to review and transform planning in Scotland.

You can find the full report and an accompanying summary document on our website.


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