This Bill process mirrors our experience of planning applications...

This is just slowly dawning on me - why things feel so familiar!
We're told things are going to be improved - and our opinions and experience are valued.
We do a lot of thinking, reasearch, corresponding, summarising.

The opportunity arises for us to have our say and - Oh!  What happened to that content we were promised?  Where's the detail?  How can we comment on such vague-ness?  It's back to the 'couple of boxes drawn on a bit of paper, pinned on a wall and called a consultation' approach that we know so well.

So what can we say?  They don't want to hear about our individual experiences - so they're being dismissed as not material considerations...  We're supposed to talk about the *content* of the Planning Bill.  Hmmm, I would if I could find some, but there's pages & pages of revision to the Town & Country Planning Act.  Were we supposed to memorise that?
If we had a broad overview of planning - rather than specific, personal examples - would we perhaps be planners instead of humble members of the public???

I know it's annoying to read our little-person gripes, but that's the only reason we're here.  That's the only reason we know about this Bill.  So you're telling us that you don't actually want to hear about the specific reasons we're interested, but you have to do a consultation so you can tick a box.   Now can we just get on and show some gratitude for the mention of Place Plans which will be 'regarded' by the Important People.

This is really the online version of the church hall with a couple of bits of paper pinned up & a couple of blokes in expensive suits being fed up & a bit snappy.  We're the 'community with unrealistic expectations' (the new NIMBY) who need to be told what's best for us.
I wonder if the next stage will be the production of an planning application - sorry, Bill - that bears no resemblance to what we've previously seen.  And doesn't feature any input from us.
But we had our chance, and it meets the minimum required standard, and here's the number for Planning Aid Scotland...

Why the contribution is important

Because I fear we're going to be treated in this process in the same way that communities are treated in planning 'consultations' - and I'd like that irony to be recognised.

by LynnWatson on February 28, 2018 at 02:42PM

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  • Posted by ScotParlModerator March 01, 2018 at 09:45

    Thanks for your comments @LynnWatson. We'll be sure to take these on board and keep them in mind when we come to review the engagement activities we've undertaken.
  • Posted by davesutto March 02, 2018 at 15:09

    Yes, of course your valuable insight and comments will be taken into account. Even Homes for Scotland described the Bill as “premature” (at Finance Committee on 28th Feb).

    But please realise that the Planning Bill 2018 steamroller must carry on to destroy any semblance of sensible Planning in Scotland. 2018. R.I.P.
  • Posted by AnnColeman March 02, 2018 at 15:24

    I participated in every aspect of the previous review of the planning and development system which promised a range of measures to encourage and value community influence in their own environment. The key aims were to "speed up the process" and " to restore public confidence and trust in the planning system", we were promised consistency and certainty, a culture change based on mutual respect and understanding, that Councillors would have training in Planning, that there would be new resources for communities to engage with the planning system, there was even talk of accessible education for the public. We were assured that "early engagement would negate the need for a third party right of appeal" NONE OF THESE MEASURES AND PROMISES WERE EVER DELIVERED. There are promises again for a few of these measures but the important ones have been forgotten all together

    I was part of a group of 5 community representatives including 3 community councils and 2 community interest groups who took up the challenge of full participation in the Structure and Local Plans. Remembering that we had never done it before and that our qualifications were all outside of planning it took up three years of personal time, resources and money but we did it. The adopted Structure Plan included the land use designation relevant to our submission, the emerging Local Plan included our designation. The Scottish Executive were so impressed that we got a grant for a University to undertake a visualisation study which resulted in a very impressive pamphlet that brought our input to life. We felt really hopeful - we should have known better. A Developer who hadn't participated in the structure or local development plans submitted applications which were contrary to our submissions and the land use designations and their application was approved by the LA. There were too many other contrary issues to detail here but we did get legal advice which indicated that we had grounds to pursue a judicial review - the developer threatened to sue each and every community representative involved if our actions undermined the costs they had already occurred. And when we asked for a PLI the Minister wasnt minded to challenge the decision of a Local Authority. THIS REVIEW INCLUDES NO MEASURES OR CHANGES THAT WILL SUPPORT COMMUNITY INFLUENCE IT IS MORE OF THE SAME WITH THE POTENTIAL TO FURTHER ERODE THE INFLUENCE OF THE PUBLIC VOICE.

    Engaging early in the process will not be effective without other changes including EQUAL RIGHT OF APPEAL. Early engagement is about the process of shaping your environment while ERA is about accountability for the processes. THEY ARE NOT THE SAME AND ONE DOES NOT NEGATE THE NEED FOR THE OTHER.

    Ann Coleman
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