Planning decision improvements must be sustained to justify proposed fee increases

Blair Melville
Blair Melville

Homes for Scotland has welcomed latest official statistics reporting an improvement in decision times for both major and local planning applications in the first quarter of 2014/15.

However the trade body, which represents the Scottish home building industry, warned that the snap-shot figures must form part of a wider picture on increasing planning performance in order to justify imminent proposed fee increases.

Homes for Scotland’s head of planning strategy, Blair Melville, said: “Whilst these latest statistics are a step in the right direction, it is important to note that they represent average decision times and mask significant local variations.

“Indeed, the average decision time for major housing applications shows no improvement on the previous quarter with some councils, notably Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, the Scottish Borders and South Lanarkshire, recording vastly longer timeframes as well as poor performance levels.

“Ultimately, however, performance is measured on a series of indicators, not just the time taken to determine applications. It is therefore crucial that the industry witnesses substantial sustained improvements over a longer timeframe in order to justify the proposed 5% increase in planning fees in November 2014.”


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