Home builders welcome proposals for mandatory training on planning for elected members
Proposals for elected members to have mandatory training on planning have been welcomed by Homes for Scotland (HFS).
The requirement was included in the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019, alongside a package of other measures to improve performance.
Submitting its response to the Scottish Government consultation on the issue, the trade body highlighted that councillors have a crucial role in the planning decision-making process but not necessarily a background in what is a very technical area.
HFS argued that it is vital that adequate training is provided to ensure planning decisions across Scotland are made on a consistent basis which is robust and grounded in an understanding of relevant planning principles, policies and legislation.
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Chief executive Jane Wood said: “The decisions taken by elected members have a major impact on the delivery of new homes (both affordable and market for sale). As such, we welcome the proposals for mandatory training as a positive step in ensuring Scotland has the range of homes it requires to meet housing need and demand.
“If decisions are made according to the merits of an application which complies with local planning policy, this will help to both tackle the chronic undersupply of housing across the country and de-politicise a fundamental need which is often viewed as being too contentious to support, even when recommended for approval by planning officers.”
Key HFS training calls include the need to ensure understanding of the Local Development Plan process, the appropriate use of planning conditions, development economics/site viability and the appeals process (including costs for both applicant and local authority).
Ms Wood added: “Home builders want to work in partnership with local authorities and communities to enable them to thrive, both socially and economically.”