Spotlights October 2018
With Halloween coming up tomorrow, surely the one question on every planner’s mind is how do we plan good places for going guising??? The answer (as particularly well put in an old Michigan State University article available here) is to make places that are of a human-scale, walkable, safe and well connected, features reflective of Scottish Planning Policy's six qualities of successful placemaking. Something to think about if you’re out and about for all Hallows Eve! And, as the nights are drawing in, we’ve selected some planning highlights from the past month to brighten up your day…
Planning (Scotland) Bill – we have now had 4 of the 5 scheduled debates on proposed amendments to the Planning Bill as part of the stage 2 process, with some interesting changes to the Bill agreed. In terms of key areas mentioned in last month’s Spotlights, we’re pleased to report that the committee agreed amendments to retain Strategic Development Plans and to give open space strategies a statutory footing. For further details on these and other changes, look out for our blog on the amendments coming soon…
Partners in Planning – in recognising the importance of knowledge, skills, and behavioural change to the effective implementation of the new planning system, the Scottish Government has launched its Partners in Planning website to provide an on-line platform to support Scotland’s planners in delivering successful places. Importantly, the website provides for the sharing of your own content so, if you have information, intelligence, good practice, research, events or training opportunities that you think will benefit the wider planning profession, you can make your contribution here.
On local government
Aberdeenshire Main Issues Report – as noted in last month’s Spotlights, Aberdeenshire’s Area Committees have now received a draft of the Main Issues Report (MIR) - which is due to be formally published for consultation in January 2019 - giving a first indication of officers’ responses to the call for sites issued earlier this year. Full details of the MIR proposals are available from the relevant Area Committee websites.
Aberdeen City and Shire Proposed Strategic Development Plan – consultation on the Proposed Strategic Development Plan is now underway, with representations invited up until Monday 17 December 2018. The Proposed Plan, associated documents and additional background information is available from the Aberdeen City and Shire Strategic Development Plan Authority website here.
On planning applications
Coronish Gold Mine – on 19 October, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Planning Authority formally issued minerals planning permission for the first commercial gold mine in Scotland. This follows a decision to approve the application subject to conclusion of a section 75 agreement to secure, amongst other planning obligations, contributions towards projects which enhance conservation and visitor experience in the Park. All documents associated with the application are available here.
Coul Links – following the announcement that the application for a proposed 18 hole golf course at Coul Links in Sutherland was called in by Scottish Ministers in August this year (see our August Spotlights), a pre-examination meeting is being convened on 31 October. This is the first stage in the process, after which dates in procedure for the Public Examination will be confirmed, for details on which watch this space…
On the courts
Pentland Mains film studios – highlighting that the planning system does not exist in isolation from other legislative provisions, in the case of The Trustees of Miss J M H Gibsone of Pentland's Trust (Applicants) v James Telfer (Respondent) the Land Court had to consider whether crofting land should be resumed in order to allow for the creation of the Pentland Mains film studio; granted planning permission by the Scottish Ministers in 2017 and described as being “of national importance”. However, the Land Court determined that removing the sitting tenants from the land would not be for the good of the whole estate, such that the land cannot be resumed to allow the development to go ahead. The question now is whether the decision will be appealed, and/or if the film studio might be built elsewhere?
Aberdeen Football Club Kingsford Stadium – we have previously reported on the legal challenge to the Aberdeen Football Club planning application for a new stadium at Kingsford, the hearing for which has now been set for 29 to 31 January 2019. We will await the outcome of that with interest.
This month we attended two interesting and very different networking and CPD events. Maggie represented Grampian Housing Association at the Scottish Rural and Islands Housing Conference, at which she enjoyed stimulating discussions on the future of rural housing, including inspirational examples of how housing can be integrated with wider regeneration activities to deliver huge benefits for rural communities. At the event, the Minister for Local Government and Housing also awarded the Rural and Island Housing Association Forum development of the year to Orkney Housing Association Limited’s Sands Park development, so congratulations to them.
Meanwhile, Pippa was at ACVO’s Enterprising Third Sector event, featuring TED style talks showcasing the great work being done in health and social care by third sector organisations in Aberdeen. From looking at how to travel well with dementia to regaining city space to support physical and mental health, the extent to which placemaking and health are intertwined cannot be ignored, nor can the impressive role that third sector organisations play in providing support where it is needed most. A huge thanks to everyone who shared their stories on the day!
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Thanks for reading!
Pippa and Maggie