Planning obligations

Planning obligations are an important part of the planning system and are increasingly used by planning authorities to support infrastructure provision required as a direct consequence of the proposed development. While the existing Scottish Government Circular (3/2012) provides advice on the scope of planning obligations and the need for compliance with the five policy tests, it does not provide detailed guidance on many of the practical aspects of planning obligations which often are the subject of detailed negotiations between the parties after a minded to grant decision has been made. There are variations in practice in relation to planning obligations and it is considered that there may be merit in further detailed guidance to enhance consistency of practice, and to assist in reducing delays in the process.

Our public consultation ran between 25 November 2019 and 3 February 2020. 31 responses were received. We are grateful to all those who responded to the consultation. We have subsequently held virtual discussion events involving a range of stakeholders. These events facilitated further consideration of a range of topics raised in the consultation. The purpose of the consultation work was to identify an evidence base to support good practice in relation to planning obligations.

We intend to report our findings to Scottish Government and make proposals for changes to the Circular. We are currently working on these proposals and hope to publish our report in late summer/early autumn. Our findings will contribute to Scottish Government’s review of the Circular in due course.

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