Homes for Scotland responds to Conservatives planning appeals figures
Homes for Scotland has called for more analysis of the planning appeal process to assess the political nature of decision making at a council level.
The trade body was responding to a freedom of information request from the Scottish Conservatives that revealed that 46% of planning appeals have been overruled by the Scottish Government in the last five years.
It has urged councillors to consider the need for more homes across the country when making their decisions.
HFS head of planning Liz Hamilton said: “The Scottish Conservatives are shining a light on an increasing blocker in the process of what has become a system of ‘planning by appeal’. There should be no need for the volume of appeals being reported if local decisions were made according to the merits of an application, and if it complies with local planning policy. Too often, however, it seems that development is considered by local authority Planning Committees to be too contentious and a vote loser. This is why decisions are then often overturned at a national level, when they are scrutinised by the independent Planning and Environmental Appeals Division.
“Data should be further analysed to see how many appeals were the result of elected members going against planning officer recommendations, especially at this point in the political cycle in the run-up to local elections. While planning will always be political, we would urge all parties to consider the implications on the ground for those in need of a new home that they can afford and meets their needs.
“Coincidentally, the statement by the Scottish Conservatives has been made the week that the consultation on National Planning Framework 4 closes, highlighting the importance of getting this vital document right to ensure we don’t exacerbate the housing crisis rather than rushing it through before Parliament’s summer recess.”