Land Use Planning System

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 17 March 2011.

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Photo of Charlie Gordon Charlie Gordon Labour

4. To ask the Scottish Executive whether the recent changes to the land use planning system have helped expedite local planning decisions. (S3O-13344)

Photo of Stewart Stevenson Stewart Stevenson Scottish National Party

During the first half of the current financial year, decision making within the statutory timeframes has improved by 5 per cent for local applications and 11 per cent for major applications.

Photo of Charlie Gordon Charlie Gordon Labour

I have been made aware that a major established business in Edinburgh is still awaiting a decision on its master plan after some nine months, having incurred professional fees and overall opportunity costs of some £600,000. Does the minister think that such examples are acceptable as we strive to get Scotland back to full employment?

Photo of Keith Brown Keith Brown Scottish National Party

I refer the member to my previous answer. There has been substantial improvement, particularly for major applications—11 per cent, as I said. Of course, some applications are more complex than others. When particular initiatives are pursued, for example new bus or railway stations, other consultation processes must kick in, which can make the process longer.

We have worked hard, by changing the planning legislation and by issuing guidance, to ensure that we do things faster. The overall figures demonstrate that, but I accept that there will be exceptions to the rule.