The Scottish government needs to build on the recent improvement in planning performance in order to help increase the supply of new homes and keep property prices in check north of the border, according to Homes for Scotland (HFS).
The trade body has welcomed the publication of latest Scottish government statistics revealing that the time taken to decide major housing developments compared with the previous year had fallen from 41.3 weeks to 40.0 weeks in 2015/16.
HFS’ head of planning, Tammy Adams, said: “These statistics provide a useful barometer on the overall performance of local planning authorities in terms of how long they are taking to issue decisions on planning applications. But these headline figures can only tell us so much.”
But the fact remains that many HFS members continue to experience frustrating delays to planning decisions across Scotland and now HFS is calling on the Scottish government to do more to improve performance.
Adams continued: “It is crucial that this is looked at across the piece. Section 75 negotiations (on what developer contributions are required) can double the amount of time it takes to issue a decision. Once a decision has been issued, the delivery of much-needed new homes can be further delayed as developers await yet more decisions relating to planning conditions. And, at present, if permission is refused or decisions are not forthcoming, the appeal system is struggling to cope with the current volume of cases.
“The on-going review of the planning system provides an opportunity to address these and other key issues in order to create circumstances which better support an increase in housing delivery across all tenures. HFS remains committed to playing a positive and full part in that work.”