Understanding Scotland’s New Planning Act: What do you need to know about the new planning system?


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The Scottish Government’s new Planning Act for Scotland has reached Stage 2 consideration in the Scottish Parliament and is expected to complete its Parliamentary process to become law in early 2019. This conference is timed to coincide with the passing of the new Act into law. It will examine the content of the new planning laws, explaining how they will change the planning process and system, and will outline the implications of those changes for planners, developers, communities and the wider economy.

The Policy Memorandum to the Scottish Government’s Planning (Scotland) Bill stated that it:

“…will improve the system of development planning, give people a greater say in the future of their places and support delivery of planned development. The Bill and wider review aim to change planning’s operation and its reputation from that of a regulator to a positive and active enabler of good quality development; a shift from reacting to development proposals to proactively supporting investment and quality placemaking.”

Specifically the intention of the new legislation is to:

  • Focus the system on delivering the development that communities need, not on writing of plans without clear delivery routes
  • Strengthen the power of communities to be involved with real influence over future development
  • Make planning more strategic in the delivery of infrastructure to support development, particularly housing
  • Simplify the system, improve accountability and increase trust in planning processes and decision-making

This conference will explain the what, why, when and where of the new Planning Act as it comes into place and will evaluate the implications for all parties to the planning process.

Benefits of Attending

  • Hear from experts in the field about the intended aims of the new legislation and examine how the new Act will seek to achieve those
  • Examine how the simplified system – incorporating a National Planning Framework, Local Development Plans and the right to develop community plans – will deliver a faster, smarter, more inclusive and fairer planning process and planning outcomes
  • Discuss with your peers, what the impact of the new approach to the planning application process will mean for all those involved in that process
  • Understand more about how it is intended to better resource the planning system and its performance
  • Learn more about the development of a new fees structure which is intended to properly reflect the cost of the planning process
  • Find out what’s not in the Act but will impact upon how the new planning system functions – both in the wider Planning Review and in terms of issues remaining to be clarified beyond the Act
  • Great opportunity to learn from the experts and network with peers, getting to know and meet new people working in planning

Who Should Attend

This conference will be relevant for anyone involved in the planning process as applicants, regulators, community interest groups, promoters of economic development & growth, and participants in the strategic planning, development & placemaking processes.

This includes planners, planning committee members, developers, housebuilders, community representatives, lawyers with planning specialisms, architects & designers, planning advisors, planning academics and – more generally – all public sector bodies with planning interests and responsibilities, private companies with engagement in the planning system, strategic bodies with an interest in spatial planning (such as transport bodies and companies), third & community sector organisations, and agencies and departments supporting economic development and inclusive growth.


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Stefano Smith FRTPI

Planning Director, WYG

Petra Biberbach

Chief Executive, PAS

Anne Donaghy

Chief Executive, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council

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