Another day, another planning story.
Statistics released recently on planning performance in Scotland have, for the first time, given information on average decision times.
The number of planning applications decided by Scotland’s planning authorities in the threemonth period from April to June 2012 was 9,751, an increase from 9,450 in the previous quarter. The average decision time for local applications (7,813) was 12.7 weeks and for the 91 major applications, 63 weeks. Included in local and major applications are 172 planning applications that were subject to consideration and conclusion of planning/legal agreements before the decisions could be issued. On average, these applications took 89.8 weeks.
The approval rate of all applications from April to June 2012 was 94.1 per cent, an increase when compared to the previous quarter (91.3 per cent).
Planning Minister Derek Mackay, who has been very active on planning issues in recent months, said the new statistics, which measure performance according to a framework agreed with Heads of Planning Scotland, are designed to give a more meaningful indication of how planning authorities are doing.
He said: “I welcome the fact that two in three local business and industry applications and nine in ten householder applications for planning performance in the three-month period from April to June 2012 were decided within two months, and that the total number of planning applications decided by Scotland’s planning authorities has increased over the same period.
“When associated legal agreements are involved, some planning applications may take longer than average as the figures show. The Scottish Government has been working together with those involved to ensure all applications are processed as efficiently as possible and will continue to do so. All planning authorities have recently produced their first annual reports under the new planning performance framework, and I look forward to seeing good progress with the service improvements they have committed to.
“I understand the challenges Scotland’s planners face, and have consulted on increasing planning fees to help us to better equip the planning system. Meanwhile, I have made clear that this increase should be met with still better performance to ensure we are doing all we can to work towards greater sustainable economic growth, and have also consulted on linking this increase in fees to improved performance.”