The responses below are those of members of The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport(UK) Scottish Policy Group who have contributed to the discussion on The Scottish Government Consultation on Modernising Planning Appeals.
While planning as a discipline is not specifically an area of expertise of the members of CILT(UK), we nonetheless have a distinct interest in this area, particularly where planning issues interface with transport ones. We have already responded in some detail to the series of planning consultations and below are some thoughts on the matter of appeals.
However, some of the issues in the paper raise a number of questions and these are also noted below. We would add that we appreciate the opportunity to comment.
1. We see it as important to minimise the risk of one person/group blocking an application through a vexatious appeal.
2. A key element should be independence of the Appeal Group from those involved in Planning Committees.
3. A second stage arbiter is seen as a benefit.
4. The reduction from 6 to 3 months in the time for appeals is seen as an advantage. Swift decisions for industry are seen as important consistent with adequate scrutiny and demonstrable fairness.
5. Specifying that new issues raised at appeals must have evidence to demonstrate that the material was not available at the time of the original submission of appeals is supported.
6. The specification that there are no councillors from adjacent authorities, implies that all planning applications with cross boundary implications can only be dealt with at the national level. This seems to rule out dual authority appeal panels which would keep the decision making local, which could have advantages.
7. Will the Review Body be a permanent Committee and how many councillors will be trained? It is our view that there will need to be several more than the minimum trained to give the Review Body some resilience in the face of unforeseen events.
8. Will the Review Body have a professional reporter to advise them on matters of law?
9. The composition of the Review Body should be cross-party where possible.
10. Are there procedures in place to ensure the continuation of the appeals process during an election period with the inevitable training requirement for new councillors?
11. Is it a mandatory requirement for a council to respond to an appeal submission within 14 days and are the 14 days working days?
12. Advice to Ministers where planning appeals are to be dealt with by the Scottish Government should be made public.
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