Chief Planner Publishes Letters on COVID-19
Kevin Stewart, Scotland’s Planning Minister, along with Chief Planner John McNairney have issued letters to outline how the Scottish Government has worked to tackle planning issues in the light of the Coronavirus restrictions.
In the first letter, informal advice is given on development planning in the period ahead of the National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) and new system of local development plans emerging.
The NPF4 timeline has also been extended, with the draft now to expected to be laid in the Scottish Parliament in September 2021. In advance of this, an interim position statement on NPF4 is also expected to be published in Autumn 2020, and this will be used to inform any further early engagement at that stage.
Subject to Parliamentary timetabling, it is anticipated that this will result in Scottish Ministers adopting NPF4 in the Spring/Summer of 2022.
Interim guidance has also been on consultation in local development planning in order to assist authorities and their stakeholders.
All planning authorities are being asked to consider allowing longer timescales, as well as more flexible arrangements for engagement in development planning in the coming months. Authorities have also been reassured that reports setting out why a local development plan has not been reviewed within appropriate timescales will not be required by Ministers at this time.
The second letter also provides a brief summary on the legislative changes and less formal revisions to practice; all taking a pragmatic view of what needed to be done to allow planning to continue during this period.
Beyond these matters, the letter also updates and highlights a few further specific points about the continued functioning of the planning system, including:
- Site visits for a planning purpose
- Planning committees and local review bodies
- Engaging with community councils
- Registration of section 75 agreements
- Supporting the recovery
- Construction sites: hours of operation
- Changing business practices during physical distancing restrictions
- Safer public places
- Digital planning
- National Planning Framework 4
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