This blog by our chair Clare Symonds contains a wee update on what we are doing, information about a new resource we have produced and important information about the National Planning Framework 4, which will affect all things planning.
I am very conscious that it has been a while since we wrote a blog.
It is really important for us to connect with you, our supporter base, we gain so much from our conversations and visits and the enquiries we receive, it provides us with an important insight into your circumstances and the challenges you face, and it keeps us real so to speak. So please do respond to this and talk to us, it is super important to hear from you all.
As covid restrictions relax we want to get out and meet more of you and do workshops and share information and ideas on how to improve the system. Please email us on email@example.com to arrange a meet up.
What’s PD been up to?
As always, we are working really hard behind the scenes. Despite not getting funding last year, we are still running our mentoring programme, albeit a reduced service! Our mentors have been helping lots of people to engage in planning, particularly those who have never done so before. A big shout out to our mentors, who are brilliant people willing to give help to others. We really value their skills and efforts to help others.
So do those who are receiving their support.
You can read some of their feedback here.
New Community Guide to Planning Appeals
We have developed a new guide to help communities understand the planning appeals process. It should prove an invaluable resource for anyone who needs to respond to a developer appeal on an application that has been rejected.
All this builds on the useful workshop we had from Dan Jackman a Reporter from the Department of Planning and Environmental Appeals, which you can watch on our Youtube channel here.
Remember! We have other guides on Responding to Planning Applications, Judicial Reviews and the Housing Crisis.
The community guide to appeals was written in true PD style; a combined effort with a lot of the initial research and ground work from consultant Janet Moxley, with a lot of input from our mentors and our network to understand the kinds of questions people have, whilst feeding back their own experiences of appeals. We also had detailed input from some helpful and friendly planners who checked the document. So, all in all we think it is a pretty cool guide!
Watch this space for our next guide to Local Development Plan Examinations.
Tackling the Volume House Builders
Many of you attended our well attended seminar with Bob Colenutt on Tackling the Volume Housebuilding Lobby.
We know a lot of you have concerns about how housing is planned and developed in Scotland; the lack of affordability, the huge housing developments on greenfield sites and the impacts this has on communities, wildlife and the climate. Not to mention the physical and mental health issues that arise from living in poorly designed places or the strain of living in a growth area and having to respond to multiple speculative applications.
Following the event we set up a new ‘Housing and Planning Alliance’ with those of you interested in working more closely with us on this topic. We have written to Shona Robison and have provided information to the Local Government Housing and Planning Committee. We have met with the Convenor’s of this committee and have given oral evidence which you can view at 9.26 and 9.56 here. We have also held a seminar with leading academics on this topic to develop our understanding.
Importantly we received some funding to help us take forward work to develop our alliance. Big thanks to the Pumphouse Trust for their support. We will shortly be holding another meeting with others in the Housing and Planning Alliance to feed back on the exciting work that we have been doing. If you are interested in joining this meeting, please contact us here.
We are currently working very hard to explore solutions to existing problems and are particularly keen to hear from any of you who have ideas on how to involve communities in planning. In particular we are looking at housing and planning, how to tackle the financialisation of our homes into assets rather than places to live and how to enable communities to deliver self build or community focussed housing schemes such as co-housing.
We are also proposing allocating land specifically for community or affordable housing and strengthening housing land supply policies in the new Scottish Planning Policies which will form part of the National Planning Framework 4.
This is all developing what we have written in our Guide to the Housing Crisis, which can be found here.
National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4)
A draft National Planning Framework 4 is due to be published at the end of October/ November for consultation.
We think its worth putting a lot of our time into reading this and hope that many of you will be able to respond to the consultation when it happens.
Why is it important?
Here is a wee film we have done to raise awareness of the NF4 and why it is important.
Please share it with your community councils, friends and local organisations.
The NPF4 will guide planning decisions for the next decade.
It is the Government’s chance to prove they are really serious about climate at a time when everyone is very focussed on it because of the COP26 talks. So we are inviting them to write a robust and forward thinking document with progressive climate friendly policies that will transform the way we do planning. Tell them we’ve had enough of the same old same old.
We can help you!
We are producing a guide to NPF4 to help make it easier for you not familiar with this document to respond to this the final consultation before the document gets approved by Parliament and becomes policy. We will send our guide as soon as we have finished it!
Meanwhile you can read our responses to the early NPF4 consultations here.
Because of covid the draft NPF4 has been held up for over a year. Luckily this has given us time to hold workshops with community organisations in the Scottish Community Alliance and environmental organisations in Scottish Environment LINK. We think we have a fairly good understanding of what other organisations in our sector are prioritising and demanding of NPF4 as well as many of you. We want to work together to make sure as many of our priorities are listened to.
If you would like us to work with you on your responses let us know, we will hold a workshop during the consultation to try and help you formulate what you want to say. You can also find out and support some of our ideas and demands. If you want to do this please contact us here. We will send a reminder.
What will the NPF4 consultation look like?
The actual publication date and the public process of consultation of NPF4 has been shrouded in mystery for months now. The Government have promised to publish a Participation Statement detailing the consultation process. By law they have to do this before publishing the draft document. We will continue to apply pressure to make sure this is done.
There will be a public consultation, which will likely involve the usual written consultation. We know how much you all just love answering the Government’s specific questions on what they think is important 😉 Its a bit like doing a written exam, only you never get to hear the results. Despite this we urge you to have a bash.
For those of you who want to get an idea of what might change you can see the Government priorities here in the key policy shifts paper. But as always you need to read between the lines and expect the lobby groups such as Homes for Scotland and other monopolies and big corporates to be working overtime on countering anything that doesn’t suit their profiteering.
There will also be a Parliamentary scrutiny of the document by the Local Government Housing and Planning Committee. MSPs in this committee will be looking at the document and gathering evidence. So it might be worth contacting the committee and the MSPs on the committee (particularly the convenor Ariane Burgess) if you have anything important you want them to focus on.
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org
We believe that there will be small pots of money available for communities to run their own workshops on NPF4, so if you are thinking of doing a response as a community organisation you may want to apply for this and run your own workshop…. if you have the energy. Maybe see it as an excuse for a community get together with added purpose.
That’s it for now, we will be in touch after the draft NPF4 has been published.
Help us to help you
Please remember that most of our work is voluntary, but funding really helps us to deliver and to draw in expertise and help. We want to remain independent and able to respond quickly, so having your donations allows us to do what we do, without having too many funding reports to write and strings attached. Please consider donating regularly to us. We promise we use any donations wisely and we do not waste a single penny.