MSPs are inviting views on the Scottish Government's Planning (Scotland) Bill, as stage 1 scrutiny begins at Holyrood.

The Scottish Parliament’s Local Government & Communities Committee has launched its call for written evidence on the bill, which aims to improve the system of development planning, support delivery of planned developments and includes a new right for communities to produce their own plans for their local areas. (Click here for a report on the bill.)

Submissions are welcome on any aspect of the bill but the committee particularly seeks views on the questions:

  • whether the bill will produce a planning system for Scotland that balances the need to secure appropriate development with the views of communities and protection of the built and natural environment;
  • to what extent will it result in higher levels of new house building, or what other changes could be made;
  • whether it will create a sufficiently robust structure to maintain planning at a regional level, or what else needs to be done;
  • whether the proposals for producing local development plans will achieve plans that are focused on delivery, complement other local authority priorities and meet the needs of developers and communities;
  • whether the simplified development zone proposals achieve a balance between development and community and environmental interests;
  • whether the bill provides more effective avenues for community involvement, or what more needs to be done;
  • whether the proposed changes to enforcement will promote better compliance with planning control;
  • whether the proposed infrastructure levy is the best way to secure investment, and how it might impact on levels of development.

There are also questions on local authority performance and flexibility in planning fees.

Committee convener Bob Doris MSP commented: "The entire purpose of these proposed changes is to strengthen the planning system and boost its contribution to inclusive growth, housing and infrastructure in Scotland.

"The bill also aims to empower people to have their say on their places more than ever before, so that communities can influence development plans in their local areas.

"Our committee now wants to find out whether the bill will deliver an improved planning system and if so, should any improvements and changes be made to the bill so that Scotland can develop a world-class approach to planning its cities, towns and rural areas in the future."

Click here to view the call for evidence. The deadline for submissions is 2 February 2018.