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Permitted development rights to be extended in Scotland

The Scottish Government is to extend permitted development (PD) rights, in a move that it says will “reform planning to help deliver more homes and speed up the planning process”.

Housing and Planning Minister, Kevin Stewart, who announced the reforms, said that the Scottish Government has identified 10 immediate actions.

The extension of PD rights (where planning permission is not needed) to more types of development, could result in minor uncontroversial developments being removed from the system. It could also mean that permitted development rights are used to encourage developments which support low carbon living and digital infrastructure.

Mr Stewart said: “Planning affects everyone’s lives, from ensuring that we have enough of the right types of homes in the right locations, to driving forward regeneration and supporting business development which provides jobs.

“It is clear from the recommendations of the independent panel, and the feedback from local authorities, developers and communities, that our planning system can do more for Scotland.

“I firmly believe that Scotland's planners can lead the delivery of great places, empower communities and provide a stable environment for investment through the uncertain times we live in.”

The Scottish Government’s announcement is in contrast to that made by Major of London, Sadiq Khan recently, who said he plans to limit permitted development rights in the capital for fear that nearly 94,000 jobs might be lost if office space is increasingly converted into residential units, as allowed by the government’s PD rights.

“Of course we need new homes, but this does not need to be at the expense of the space we need for the businesses that provide our jobs and drive our prosperity,” said Mr Khan.

Other immediate actions as highlighted by the Scottish Government include the introduction of pilot simplified planning zones for housing, so that permission is granted up front and a review of how the digital transformation of the planning service can be taken to another level.

The Scottish Government says it will work with local authorities, developers and community groups to develop more detailed proposals for reform, which will be fully consulted on later this year. This will pave the way for a new Planning Bill to be brought before the Scottish Parliament in 2017.

“I welcome the positive report produced by the panel and am impressed that public and private interests in planning are willing to work together and with government to make changes happen. We must now work together to ensure our planning system is best placed to support economic growth and house-building, whilst protecting and enhancing the quality of life of all our communities.

“We will now develop proposals for further reform of the planning system over the coming months and will bring forward consultation proposals by the end of the year. The review’s proposed outcomes – including strong and flexible development plans, more high quality homes and collaboration rather than conflict – are all aims we share,” added Mr Stewart.

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