Planning Bill would make system harder, not easier, Finance Secretary says

New legislation to reform the planning system in Scotland will make it harder rather than easier, the finance secretary has said.

Derek Mackay said the Planning Bill needs to be fixed and called for parties to work together to achieve this.

The Planning (Scotland) Bill, first introduced in December 2017, aims to change the way the system works and empower communities.

Several changes were introduced to the planned legislation as it progressed through parliament after opposition politicians raised concerns.

Speaking to an audience of industry leaders at the Scottish Council of Development and Industry (SCDI) annual forum in Edinburgh, Mr Mackay said: “The planning legislation as it is going through the Scottish Parliament right now, as amended, will make the planning system harder, not better, not easier.

“So, actually there is a cross-party piece of work to be done to fix the Planning Bill, so that the legislation can enable the right development rather than make it harder.

“See if we mess up the planning system and then we ask the question why is nothing getting through the system? You know, it’s because politicians haven’t got it right.

“So, we really need to fix that with the consensus that I think is required.”

Last month, Scottish Property Federation chairman Miller Mathieson said the legislation is in an “unworkable tangle”.

He said the Bill started out with good intentions but has “lost its way” and is now “unrecognisable” from that originally proposed.

He urged politicians from across the benches at the Scottish Parliament to accept the need for changes to be made.