Average planning decision times fall 17 per cent

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The amount of time it takes for a planning decision in Scotland to be given on a major development has declined by 17 per cent…

New figures from the Scottish government have revealed a fall in the average time it takes for a planning decision to be made. According to the data the time is 17 per cent lower than the previous year.

Both local and major applications saw a reduction in time, with the average decision for major developments in 2015-16 falling by more than six weeks on the previous year. Major housing development decisions are almost two weeks fast than 2013-14, meaning a decision takes 40.0 weeks rather than 41.3 weeks.

Planning Minister Kevin Stewart said: “Effective planning is crucial to promoting sustainable economic growth and ultimately to helping build more homes. Speeding up the planning system is a vital part of this.

“These statistics are very encouraging, particularly at a time where we are looking at the best ways to reform and improve our planning system. The reduction in decision making timescales can only be a good thing – it means we are open for business and helping create certainty within the building sector.

“It is clear many authorities have worked hard to achieve these improvements and these results form a strong base from which to move forward with planning reform.

“We have just announced 10 immediate actions we will take to help deliver more homes and businesses through an improved planning system.

“This includes extending permitted development rights, meaning local authorities will have fewer minor applications to deal with. These changes will allow them to ensure they are able to allocate the resources needed to focus on dealing with larger more complex developments.”

However, the statistics also showed fewer planning applications have been decided overall, with a 10 per cent drop seen in major applications since 2014/15.

Mandy Catterall, government relations manager at the Scottish Property Federation, said: “It is very welcome that major planning applications are being decided more quickly.

“An efficient planning system is crucial in assuring investors that Scotland is open for business at a time when the priority in Scotland must remain growing the economy and working with international investors to secure appropriate new investment and development.

“The drop in major applications is, however, very worrying. We need to continue to improve how we work together if we are to sustain economic growth and investment, which is more important than ever in this period of uncertainty.

“Our industry has the potential to strengthen the economy, renew the built environment investment, and deliver more homes.”

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