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Community action planning and Local Place Plans

The Scottish Government introduced the Planning (Scotland) Bill to the Scottish Parliament in December 2017. Amongst other things, the Bill introduces a new right for communities to produce Local Place Plans.

In this blog, we look at what these Plans are and how they fit into the community planning process in the National Park.

What are Local Place Plans?

The aim of a Local Place Plan is to “significantly enhance engagement in development planning, effectively empowering communities to play a proactive role in defining the future of their place”.

Why do these Plans matter?

The Planning Bill indicates that planning authorities, such as the National Park Authority, should ‘have regard to’ these Plans as part of the Local Development Planning process.

Spatial or ‘development planning’ decisions impact significantly on community life, health, wellbeing and the local economy. Planning considerations can relate to housing, public facilities, business growth, use of land or buildings, roads, flooding, energy, recreation, paths and other infrastructure – so it’s really important that community planning and spatial planning partners work well together.

How do Local Place Plans fit in to current community action planning?

From investing in hydro electric schemes, to maintaining and improving village halls – communities within the National Park are already active in undertaking a range of projects through local action planning work to benefit their local communities. These projects are generally bought forward and prioritised by Community Action Plans, which are developed and delivered with support from the Community Partnership and the National Park. (You can find out more about how we support community action planning here.)

Community Action Plans are currently produced across the National Park

In light of the changes in the new Planning Bill, there is some debate about the influence and process of these new Local Place Plans and how they fit in with our current process of community action planning.

We want to continue developing effective, efficient ways to enable communities, landowners, businesses to influence spatial and community planning in the National Park. So, over the next few months we are:

  • Taking stock of how we currently support communities to influence outcomes by a review of our current community action planning process. More information on this review and how you can get involved is available on our Community Planning web page
  • Trialling new ways of working in partnership with other agencies, such as the Community Partnership, Local Authorities and Scottish Community Development Centre.
  • Awaiting further guidance from the Planning (Scotland) Bill
  • Encouraging communities to apply for funding to continue community-led projects through the Making Places initiative, or taking the lead on their own community action planning.

What happens now?

Detailed Stage 2 scrutiny of the Bill is taking place now, along with further research and consideration, before an update is expected this autumn. You can find out more about the Bill by reading a summary on the Scottish Government website or in this fact sheet.

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