Chief Planner announces withdrawal of housing and infrastructure planning advice

John McNairney
John McNairney

The Scottish Government’s Chief Planner is to withdraw the housing and infrastructure draft planning delivery advice from 1 December 2017.

John McNairney has written to all heads of planning about the decision which he said will allow the government to focus resources on the changes emerging from the ongoing planning review.

In the letter, Mr McNairney said that efforts to develop the guidance was hindered by “a number of areas of continuing disagreement and some concerns over the weight to be attached to the draft advice”.

He added that a “strong policy position” remains on planning for housing, despite the withdrawal of the advice.

The letter reads:

Dear Colleague,

I am writing to you in relation to the Draft Planning Delivery Advice on Housing and Infrastructure. After careful consideration we have decided to withdraw the document, effective from 1 December 2017.

In preparing the draft planning advice, our aspiration was to build consensus and provide clarity on a number of important housing policy and delivery issues. Despite our best efforts to develop the guidance in an open, inclusive and collaborative way there remain a number of areas of continuing disagreement and some concerns over the weight to be attached to the draft advice. Rather than continue lengthy discussions on current policies and guidance we intend to focus our resources on the changes emerging from the planning review.

The planning review focuses on a number of key themes, including housing, infrastructure and their delivery. The review stages undertaken to date have allowed us to engage in dialogue with a wide range of stakeholders to explore how we can improve the system to better address these issues. We would like to continue this positive approach as we move towards legislative change and subsequent reviews of policy and guidance over the coming months.

Despite the withdrawal of the advice, there remains a strong policy position on planning for housing which is set out in Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) and supported by PAN 2/2010. We will consider the scope to improve on this when we come to review SPP in due course, aligned to and reflecting the outputs of the planning review. We have recently published targeted guidance on Build to Rent Housing and will consider publishing other elements of guidance contained within the Draft Delivery Advice as separate online advice.

If you have any questions relating to the above, please contact my colleague Michael Westwater on 0131 244 5906.

Yours sincerely,

John McNairney

Chief Planner