Help Improve the Planning System in Scotland: Become a Planning Democracy Supporter

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Thanks for reading. You’re a very important person to us.

You might be one of the 516 people on our rapidly growing mailing list, you might be one of the dozens of people taking part in vibrant discussions about planning in our Peer Support Forum, you might have heard about us from a friend or acquaintance, you might have come to our conference, or we might have come to yours! Or you might have stumbled upon us while casting around looking for help online having discovered a particular development or planning decision that might affect your life.

Whatever it is that brought you here, it’s great to have you. You are someone who believes that the Planning System in Scotland needs to be improved so that developers are held to account and local communities have a fair say in decisions which affect them.

That’s our belief, and we’ve been working hard to make it a reality with the help of people like you.

We’ve had a really good year so far.

We’re campaigning to establish an Equal Right of Appeal (ERA) in Scottish Planning, which will allow communities and public interest groups to appeal planning decisions. Currently only developers can appeal decisions which is a real injustice and means dodgy planning approvals do not get the scrutiny they should.

We are progressing a petition regarding ERA within the Scottish Parliament and in January the Petitions Committee  agreed to forward our petition to the Local Government and Regeneration Committee. When this committee met at the end of May they agreed to call the Cabinet Secretary Alex Neil in for an evidence session calling for a review of current planning legislation.


In April we held a hugely successful conference: Planning – The People’s Perspective to a sold-out Trades Hall in Glasgow. Over 120 people from all over Scotland came to hear from Community Speakers, academics, lawyers and planning professionals and take part in discussions about the issues that they have faced in their own communities.

We’ve set up a Peer Support Forum as a place to seek advice from other community members across Scotland with valuable first hand experience of the planning system, or just to embark on discussions around planning and planning policy. Already the forum is well used with lots of vibrant discussions. Anyone can go there for help, but we prioritise giving help to users who support us with annual donations.

Recently we’ve been on the move to other parts of Scotland to discuss ERA and the need for more democratic decision making in planning. An excellent one day event around strengthening local democracy ‘The People’s Council‘ was held in Oban at the start of June. This was a great opportunity to meet new people and learn more about the impact of planning in different parts of the country and we hope to be on the move much more often in the coming months, so if you know of an event you think we should be part of, let us know and we’ll do our best to be there!

Finally we’ve seen an incredible growth in the number of people we’re reaching. Through our AGMs, our conference, the forum and everything else, and we’re now in the incredible position of having over 500 people on our mailing list (if you haven’t signed up please do!)

But there’s so much more that needs to be done, and we need your help.

The Scottish Government are still opposed to ERA as they are worried it will cause delays – even though evidence suggests this isn’t the case; communities across Scotland are still struggling with the incredible personal toll of engaging with a Planning System that just isn’t built to take their concerns into account and all too often developers are able to get away with murder in the name of ‘sustainable economic growth‘.

We’re really excited with how this year has gone so far, and we’re confident that things are only going to improve from here on in, but we desperately need your help!

Can you:

  • Sign up to our mailing list (see top right of the page) if you haven’t already so you can keep up to date with the work we’re doing.
  • ‘Like’ us on facebook and ‘Follow’ us on twitter (see top right of page for links).
  • Sign up to our manifesto to show your support for our principles and recommendations.
  • Read about the things you can do to help our campaign for ERA here.

and most importantly:

We are a very small organisation and almost all of our work is carried out by volunteers giving up heroic amounts of time to support a cause they believe in. With more funding we would be able to do so much more.


Thank you for your time, and all that you do to make Scotland a fairer place for local communities.



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