Scotland’s chief planner calls for a flexible approach

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In a letter, the Scottish government’s chief planner has called on council planners to adopt a positive and flexible approach to private rental applications…

Scotland’s chief planner John McNairney has asked for a positive and flexible approach to private rented sector (PRS) planning applications.

In a letter to the heads of planning departments at Scotland’s 32 local authorities, McNairney said the private rented sector was an “emerging area of the market” and it offered “opportunities” to “expand the supply of new housing in Scotland”.

The letter said the sector was a significant priority for the government and will help expand housing supply in the nation.

McNairney said: “The Scottish Ministers attach importance to increasing delivery of high quality housing developments.

“New build PRS has the potential to become an additional route to quickly expand housing supply, helping to provide people with flexible housing options.

“The Scottish Government is accordingly working to encourage a thriving new build PRS, which provides good quality, well-managed homes that are constructed to the highest energy standards.

“As part of this commitment, funding has been provided to the home building industry body Homes for Scotland to enable the appointment of Gerry More as a PRS Champion.

“Supported by a working party of experts, he has been exploring opportunities to unlock large-scale PRS development in Scotland, backed by institutional investment.

“I would encourage you to consider the potential of PRS in meeting housing need and demand in your area and to adopt a flexible approach in dealing with planning applications.”

He added: “PRS is one of our priorities for expanding housing supply and Scottish Ministers expect decision-makers to provide a positive and flexible approach to development, as set out in Scottish Planning Policy (SPP).

“SPP also aims to achieve the right development in the right place; this includes making efficient use of existing capacities of land, buildings and infrastructure and contributing to sustainable development.”

Planning advice covering the delivery of private rental sector units is set to be produced, according to the letter. This will include the challenges, as well as the characteristics of the sector.

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