New planning rights for communities blocked in Parliament

Local MSP Iain Gray has slammed the ‘SNP-Tory’ stitch up of the Planning Bill, warning that it has become a missed opportunity to deliver transformative change for local communities.

The SNP and Scottish Conservatives joined forces to block Labour’s plans to secure the power for a community right of appeal as well as remove key changes made by MSPs at an earlier stage.

Scottish Labour has been pushing for amendments that would rebalance power in the planning system, and give communities a right of appeal with developers to level the playing field and make the system fairer.

Iain Gray MSP has said that such a move would have ensured that more planning decisions for East Lothian would be taken in East Lothian, where we have seen so many local planning decisions overturned by Scottish Ministers in recent years.

But SNP and Tory MSPs voted against the proposals to reform the planning appeal system, choosing instead to side with big developers, and keep power in the hands of Ministers rather than local people.

Scottish Labour pushed for amendments to:

  • Give communities a right of appeal on proposed developments
  • Secure more protections for live music venues
  • Require the Scottish Government to legislate for land value sharing to allow for more public sector led development and increasing land values to be invested in communities
  • Put public health at the heart of the planning system

In the final vote, Labour MSPs opposed the Bill as a whole, but once again SNP and Conservative MSPs combined to push it through.

Iain Gray MSP said:

“The Planning Bill has become an SNP-Tory stitch up which fails to deliver the transformative change our local communities in East Lothian need.

“The SNP teamed up with the Tories to push through their timid approach to planning reform, blocking the chance to give local people more say in decisions about our local area.

“Communities across East Lothian have suffered more than anyone from planning decisions being overturned by Scottish Ministers, so it’s a shameful missed opportunity.

“SNP Ministers have failed to read the public mood on planning, and have chosen to side with big developers over local people.”