About Us

Planning Democracy SCIO is working for a fair and inclusive planning system in Scotland.

Who we are

We work with community councils, individuals, community organisations and others to identify the problems that people face in planning. Our work is informed by these people’s experiences. Our network is Scotland wide, made up of community councils, individuals and organisations who are involved in planning issues in some way.

We have a Board of Trustees, chaired by Clare Symonds, and supported by a strong network of supporters and advisers. Until recently we have operated on a purely voluntary basis, but our activities are now supported by a Community Network Coordinator and we are actively planning to grow further in the future. We all share a belief that a robust, democratic planning system is crucial for shaping fairer and more sustainable places. Read our Trustee biographies.

What we do

Our work is divided into three areas.

Campaigns: We carry out practical and academic research on the state of community participation in the Scottish planning system; we work with many communities throughout Scotland to try to understand where the problems lie and how we can change things; we campaign for a just and open decision making; and promote practical changes for a more equitable, inclusive and transparent planning system.

Community Network: We have a network of around 200 people and organisations.

Our campaign network is made up of people who have been involved in planning issues. Many of them tell us they have learned the hard way and discovered how difficult it is to engage and have your voice heard in planning. They help us to campaign for better rights for communities.

Our peer support network is made up of people who have learned something about how planning works and how best to get your voice heard. We put them in touch with others who are less experienced and need help to navigate the complexities of planning or just get a bit of support and encouragement and a few tips.

We often get inquiries from people asking us to help with individual applications and circumstances. We understand how stressful it can be and try to help as much as we can by putting you in touch with others who have experience of the planning system. Read Walter’s account of his feelings when he was facing a public local inquiry and how Planning Democracy helped. Get in touch here.

Action Research: this is a new area that we are currently exploring. We will be running a planning academy with the community in North Edinburgh. The aim is to build understanding and awareness about new opportunities and challenges in planning and community empowerment and how they might take advantage of them.

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We are a registered Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (a SCIO) charity number SC041051.  You can view our OSCR charity page here.