Communities should have a stronger voice in planning what their neighbourhoods look like than the Scottish Government proposes, according to Holyrood’s Local Government & Communities Committee.
In its stage report published today, the committee sets out recommendations to strengthen the Planning (Scotland) Bill, while recognising that it has the potential to improve the planning process overall.
The bill aims to streamline 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, called local place plans.
The committee believes the bill should contain a "purpose for planning", to provide greater certainty to communities and developers, and encourage more meaningful engagement on planning applications, local place plans and local development plans.
It is concerned that disadvantaged communities will be considerably less likely to take advantage of local place plans due to a lack of capacity, time and resources – and that the bill's proposals do not go far enough to address planning frustrations felt by many communities.
And, recognising that music venues make an important contribution to Scotland, the MSPs recommend that "agent of change" – a principle that puts the onus on developers to mitigate pre-existing noise impacts – should be included within the bill.
Committee convener Bob Doris MSP commented: “Planning impacts every aspect of our lives. It decides where our homes are built, where our children go to school and how we use our outdoor spaces.
“Over the past few months, we have taken evidence on Scotland’s new approach to planning and while we consider this bill has the potential to improve our lives, we have also outlined a number of ways it can be strengthened.”