The Institute's particular interests in the planning field are transport and the supply chain. We are pleased with the emphasis in this consultation on delivery which should be the main aim of all planning processes to meet economic, social and environmental needs. There has been consultation by the Executive on numerous aspects of planning in recent years. Whilst each of these initiatives were relevant in the context of the topics under consideration the overall effect for those not closely involved in the planning field can be confusing. There is a need for simplification whilst ensuring development plans provide up to date and relevant guidance. The consultation document is welcomed as an aid to this end, in particular the emphasis on modernisation.
Our comments are restricted to those questions which have a particular relevance to our professional interests.
Q1. Most important factors in development planning management.
There should be a clarity of purpose with well identified aims and objectives. Consistency in approach within and between authorities is required together with clear and timeous decision making and appeal procedures. The Development Plan should be regularly updated and always relate to the current situation and aspirations.
Q2,3. Plan preparation and review timetables.
All authorities should be subject to the same requirements regarding preparation and updating of development plans in respect of legislative or other significant influencing factors. The updating should be timeous having regard to resource constraints and necessary consultation.
Q4. Consultation on key issues rather than policies, proposals.
Early targeted consultation on key issues is supported as they are often more readily understood and of relevance for consultees. The views obtained on them can influence the development of policies and specific proposals.
Q5. Engagement by bodies in development planning.
The bodies listed should be engaged in development planning. Other bodies could usefully be included such as Tourism, Health, Education and Regional Transport Bodies. The composite views of such bodies can often be more valuable than responses received with specific consultation on draft proposals.
Q6. Involvement of businesses.
Closer involvement of businesses in development planning would be beneficial. A possible way forward might be to establish business development forums for each area which could discuss issues with the planning authority and make proposals. Participants could include local representatives of Development Agencies, Chambers of Commerce, CBI and SCDI.
Q10. Area-wide local development plans outside the City regions.
We strongly support this proposal. Many existing local authorities are too small to avoid narrow self interest and parochialism over-riding wider regional interests. Transport developments in particular require a wider viewpoint and voluntary co-operation on structure plans has often proved difficult.
Q12. Greater consistency in the style of plans.
This is supported to aid understanding, particularly by those whose interests extend to more than a single plan area. In addition to style there should also be consistency in standards and aspirations in so far as this can be achieved after allowing for local discretion on devolved matters.
Q14. Proposed content for city region plans.
The proposals are supported, including the spatial development strategy for the short, medium and long term. The proposals for simplicity are also welcomed. Whenever practical the areas and boundaries for such plans should correspond with those identified for local transport partnerships to ease administration, policy and transport infrastructure development, presentation and public understanding.
Q.15a. Local authority representation.
There should be a partial reflection of size as now for Police and Fire joint boards and the Strathclyde Passenger Transport Authority.
Q15b. Local authority costs.
A sensible allocation would be in respect of relative size as calculated by the Executive for GAE allocations.
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