Before Christmas, Sturgeon launched the first steps in a renewed cities initiative by releasing the document ‘Scotland’s Cities: Delivering for Scotland’. However, planning received little mention.
Convener of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Scotland, Bob Reid, said: “I can appreciate that there is a need to keep the document succinct and to focus on the strategic aims, but do wonder if there is also a need to be clear about how this is going to be done, and the mechanisms that can be used, such as the planning system.” To address these concerns, Sturgeon has responded by writing a piece in Scottishplanner, the journal of RTPI Scotland.
She said: “Cities and their regions play a central role in driving economic growth – lifting national economic performance and wellbeing. The Scottish Government is committed to working individually and collectively with Scotland’s cities to optimise that growth for the benefit of the whole of Scotland.
That’s why, in collaboration with Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Stirling, we have founded the Scottish Cities Alliance and set out a new agenda for cities.
“…at its heart, the cities agenda is about collaboration. It is rooted in the firm belief that Scotland’s cities are stronger together – in attracting international investment, in enhancing physical and digital connectivity, in moving to a low carbon economy.
“… there is an important role for planning in delivering on the agenda, for example, by underlining the city-region approach with an effective suite of strategic development plans; founding development plans on an ambitious, bespoke, placebased vision; supporting the delivery of nationally important infrastructure and development projects, including those in the national planning framework, the infrastructure investment plan and the national renewables infrastructure plan and planning high quality environments for new business development.”
However, Sturgeon was also keen to stress that she is not downplaying the importance of Scotland’s small towns, islands and rural areas. She said the Scottish Government is still “strongly committed” to supporting rural life, communities and economy.