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Landowners worry for rural communities under Planning Bill

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Rural communities in Scotland could be the hardest hit under the Planning (Scotland) Bill in its present form, the body representing landowners has warned.

Ahead of the bill's stage 3 consideration in the Scottish Parliament, Scottish Land & Estates (SLE) has warned that the heavily amended bill could create barriers to delivering much-needed employment, economic and diversity opportunities.

Intended to simplify and strengthen the planning system to support communities and the economy, the bill has seen an unprecedented number of amendments that would either add new processes to the planning system or duplicate existing ones. The Law Society of Scotland has previously warned that it is likely to be unworkable in its present form.

SLE fears that amendments such as removing private ways from permitted development rights or applying a third party or equal right of appeal, will slow the planning process down without bringing any benefit, and that accepting these and other changes would be detrimental to the interests of communities trying to develop in a challenging economic climate. 

A number of amendments have been tabled to remove many of the amendments and SLE is urging MSPs to support these.

Gavin Mowat, SLE policy adviser for rural communities, commented: “Rural businesses in Scotland want to see a planning system that can help them deliver the employment and housing which diverse rural communities need. They require a flexible and proportionate planning system to enable them to continue to thrive, particularly in uncertain times.

“The requirements of almost 1,000,000 people living in rural communities need to be given full consideration as the Planning Bill is passing through Parliament. We urge MSPs to back amendments that will support rural communities in building resilience through diversity.”

 

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