In recent months, a number of commentators including the Law Society of Scotland and the Scottish Property Federation (SPF) have expressed concerns that the amended Planning (Scotland) Bill - if enacted in current form - would place unmanageable strain on the limited resources of planning authorities and create additional costs for businesses.
The amended Bill creates an array of new duties for planning authorities and Scottish Ministers and introduces requirements for planning authorities to consider the provision of public toilets, water refill stations and ‘play opportunities’ for young people when assessing local development plans. Such proposals are welcomed in principal, but critics have questioned whether sufficient consideration has been given to funding and resource implications in this respect.
One proposed change which has been met with the Government’s provisional support would require people offering short-term holiday lets to obtain planning permission for change of use, other than where the premises being let are the owner's sole or main residence.
However, the Government recently vowed to reverse many of the other amendments – stating that they could increase costs to planning authorities by as much as £75m and cost businesses more than £400m. Indeed, critics have raised concerns that some of the current proposals may discourage investment in Scotland’s property market. Think Airbnb….for example.
The amendment stage has now concluded and the final debate will take place over 3 days, in the latter half of June. Let us hope that the Government gives full consideration to all criticisms raised, and that the finished product will inform a revitalised planning regime which benefits Scotland’s communities and stimulates growth.
Would you like more information on the Planning (Scotland) Bill? Do you require advice on how it might impact on planned development works? Are you planning on offering a short-term holiday let in the near future? If so, please get in touch with our specialist Commercial and Residential Property teams via the following link.