Cities Review

Scottish Ambulance Service – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:30 pm on 7 February 2002.

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Photo of John Home Robertson John Home Robertson Labour 2:30, 7 February 2002

To ask the Scottish Executive what meetings have taken place with local authorities other than the five cities to discuss the cities review. (S1O-4641)

Photo of Iain Gray Iain Gray Labour

I recognise fully the importance of the links between our cities and their surrounding regions and am therefore keen to involve neighbouring authorities in the cities review. Ministers have met Aberdeenshire Council and the local authorities neighbouring Glasgow and Edinburgh. A meeting is being arranged with the local authorities neighbouring Dundee.

Photo of John Home Robertson John Home Robertson Labour

Is the minister aware that the Lothian structure plan requires East Lothian Council to release 4,700 sites for private houses, mainly for people who work in Edinburgh? Does he acknowledge the need for measures to help councils such as East Lothian Council to meet the costs of providing education, transport and the other infrastructure needs of areas with growing populations? Is there not an overwhelming case for requiring housing developers to meet a substantial share of those costs? Will he address those points in the context of discussions about the cities review?

Photo of Iain Gray Iain Gray Labour

Developer contributions and planning gains have been raised by several of the parties in the context of the cities review. Some have argued for increased contributions and others have argued for reduced contributions. Members can work out who might have been arguing which way.

The review team plans to discuss the issue with local authorities, with Homes for Scotland and with other parties as part of the next phase of the review. The synergy that we are seeking to develop between the cities review and the review of strategic planning is intended to address exactly such planning issues, which are crucial for the regeneration not just of cities but of city regions.