Scotland’s Rural Communities at Risk

Rural communities in Scotland are at risk of being hardest hit in a new Planning Bill, that could create barriers to delivering much-needed employment, economic and diversity opportunities, Scottish Land & Estates (SLE) has warned.

The Planning (Scotland) Bill is due to enter its final stage at Holyrood this week (18 -20 June), and SLE  is calling on MSPs to back amendments that will deliver an enabling planning system that supports sustainable development and allows Scotland’s rural communities to thrive.

SLE fears that amendments to the Bill, such as removing private ways from permitted development rights or applying a third party or equal right of appeal, will slow the planning process down without bringing any benefit.

The Planning Bill has seen an unprecedented amount of proposed changes that would either add new processes to the planning system or duplicate existing ones. SLE – along with other organisations – has consistently expressed concern that accepting these changes would be detrimental to the interests of communities trying to develop in a challenging economic climate.

A number of amendments have now come forward to remove many of those changes and SLE urge MSPs to support amendments to deliver the planning system rural Scotland needs to thrive.

Commenting, Gavin Mowat, SLE Policy Adviser for Rural Communities, said:

“Rural businesses in Scotland want to see a planning system that can help them deliver the employment and housing which diverse rural communities need. They require a flexible and proportionate planning system to enable them to continue to thrive, particularly in uncertain times.

“The requirements of almost one million people living in rural communities need to be given full consideration as the Planning Bill is passing through Parliament. We urge MSPs to back amendments that will support rural communities in building resilience through diversity.”

Scottish Land & Estates is a membership organisation for landowners, rural businesses and rural professionals.

Scottish Land & Estates promotes the wide range of benefits land-based businesses provide: tourist attractions, leisure facilities and landscapes enjoyed by the public, as well as, housing, employment, tourism & enterprise and farming opportunities.

For more information, visit www.scottishlandandestates.co.uk

Do you agree? What would you like to tell Scottish Government about rural planning?

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