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Government seeks views on planning policy

7 January 2008

Councils are encouraged to identify and release more land for housing under a new planning policy released for consultation today.

According to the Scottish Government, the draft Scottish Planning Policy 3: Planning for Housing (SPP3) will facilitate new land supply for housing development and ensure best use is made of existing housing land allocations.

The aim is to get councils to work together to better assess and identify housing requirements across housing market areas. Long-term development plans will make better use of information such as need, demand, and identified housing requirements.

The Government wants to boost the number of new homes built in Scotland by 10,000 per year to 35,000 by the middle of the next decade.

The draft SPP 3 also proposes that local authorities consider improved planning policies for houses in multiple occupation and encourages improved standards of energy efficiency, quality and sustainability of new homes.

Strategic look

Planning Minister Stewart Stevenson said: "Scotland needs more homes. We must improve the supply of homes to buy, to rent and for low cost home ownership across Scotland, especially in areas facing housing pressures.

"While demand for new housing, particularly affordable housing, has risen in recent years, there has been no corresponding increase in housebuilding. If Scotland is to benefit from more sustainable economic growth, we must build more homes to higher standards. A modern, efficient, planning system is key to unlocking that.

"Development plans must be central to ensuring the right kinds of houses are in the right places. The new policy requires councils to take a strategic look at housing need and supply. Where there are particular pressures on housing supply, the policy allows quicker release of appropriate land and more effective use of existing land allocated to housing - this will be central to providing more houses to meet affordable housing need and market demand."

The consultation will run until 31 March with publication of the final revised SPP 3 intended for summer 2008.