Communication and access to information

(Idea gathered from contributions at Motherwell event)

This was the main issue across the group discussion.

Much of it related to the lack of time, resources and funding that communities have access to in order to get up to speed with planning applications. Hours of effort and funds can be committed with little or no impact. Lots of people want to engage but lack of time and knowledge to do so.

Suggestion made that there should be a ‘go-to’ person / locality link officer that people can approach for information/to express opinions. It’s not that people don’t care, it needs to be easier for them to be heard and to engage. People should be educated and informed before being asked for views.

These views should be part of the decision making process – it was felt that local people currently have no right to influence. 

Why the contribution is important

Access to information from planning offices was felt to be a major barrier – there was a view that developers can access information that local residents can’t.

by ScotParlModerator on February 20, 2018 at 10:40AM

Current Rating

Average score : 5.0
Based on : 7 votes


  • Posted by IngaBullen February 27, 2018 at 16:25

    Generally people do not know or understand much about the planning system until they become involved in objecting to a proposal. They are at a massive disadvantage throughout the process. Disillusionment and disengagement can be the result. Why did we bother when the system is so stacked against us? The proposed Bill seems to have no benefits from a community point of view! What a shocking waste of opportunity.
  • Posted by LynnWatson February 27, 2018 at 20:40

    I completely agree and am SO glad that this is being acknowledged! I had to put on a public meeting to try to explain to folk in our community what the different stages of a planning application were and what kind of thing counted as a material consideration, so they could make valid representations.
    What qualifications do I have to do this? None. But no-one else was going to do it & I've been up to my eyeballs in planning stuff for the last few years - out of necessity...

    We're dealing with major applications; protected species; flood risks - it goes on & on. What I've found really scary is that I've gone from naively assuming that people are generally doing what's best to starting to question decisions.
    It's amazing how often there's suddenly been an 'oversight' or 'misunderstanding' or 'breakdown in communications' when you query things.
    And if no-one's doing the querying...?
  • Posted by ddpeeps February 28, 2018 at 18:53

    Totally agree with both comments having just had personal experience of 2 major applications, lack of notification to community, pushing for a public meeting, contributing financially and time to design and leaflet the area. We are indeed massively disadvantaged and we are not planners/architects/surveyors and time constrained to make sense (how can you even begin to make sense of 60 + docs) of the documentation in the planning portal. Stressful, time consuming, dis-empowerment it goes on..and can't get a decent answer when you do question aspects and we are only at the start as one was a PPP.
  • Posted by davesutto March 01, 2018 at 08:20

    ePlanning has unfortunately been used to hinder transparency (marking far too many notes and documents as “sensitive” rather then “public”. This the urgent need for an ePlanning Code of Professional Good Practice to promote better transparency.

    In Scotland there is no legal right to address the Planning Committee (as in England). No ability to draw on an ePlan the area where you want to be formally notified (Scotland still stuck in “Weekly Lists”!). No Equal Rights of Appeal (as in Ireland). So all the talk about “early involvement” - without any community “teeth” into formal role in to LDP and LDP examination - it will just remain tokenism.
    Look at The EU Directive that requires EIA on all major developments. But now regularly bypassed by useless “Scoping Reports”. So all these new developments now being build in Flood Risk Areas, often w mining or other problems. No wonder there are 20,000 ( and rising) non- adopted new houses. Who will compensate them for flooding and “sink holes” problems?
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