Lessons To Be Learned From SESplan Report Recommendations

Last week the examination report was published on the proposed SESplan strategic development plan.

The recommendations from examination of SESplan are good news for housing developers, but are there lessons for the current reform of the planning system?

Increasing housing supply

The Reporter has recommended increasing the housing supply targets by approximately 30,000 new homes - an increase of 48%.

This followed detailed consideration of issues including:

the Housing Need and Demand Assessment wealth distribution future the risk in setting excessively high housing supply targets providing for the past shortfalls in delivery redistributing some of Edinburgh's housing requirement the all-tenure approach and providing for affordable housing Implementing SESplan

The SESplan housing supply targets have to be implemented through local development plans. Currently new LDPs have to be prepared every 5 years; the Planning (Scotland) Bill proposes to extend that to 10 years.

One assumes the councils in the SESplan areas will act timeously to bring forward appropriate policy changes to address the SESplan recommendations (if/ once approved by the Scottish Ministers). However, the 10 year time limit for preparing an LDP would remove the time pressure for making those changes, which could lead to delays, especially if there is local community concern about proposed allocation of new housing sites.

For example, almost half of the SESplan housing supply is to be in the City of Edinburgh Council area. The current Edinburgh LDP was adopted in November 2016. If a 10 year time limit is introduced, a new LDP would not need to be adopted until 2026 - in eight years' time. This indicates a need for Scottish Ministers to consider introducing interim time limits for new LDPs.

The future

A key proposal of the Planning...

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