Planning (Scotland) Bill


About the Bill

A Bill for an Act of the Scottish Parliament to make provision about how land is developed and used.

Current Status of the Bill

This Scottish Government Bill was introduced by the Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities, Angela Constance MSP, on 4 December 2017.

Read the Planning (Scotland) Bill and its accompanying documents.

The Scottish Government has provided simplified flowcharts to help explain how the Bill proposes to change development planning and the preparation of local development plans. These can be found at:

Stage 1

The Parliamentary Bureau has designated the Local Government and Communities Committee as the lead Committee for the Bill.

Call for Written Evidence

The Committee launched a call for written evidence on Friday 15 December 2017 as part of its Stage 1 scrutiny of the Planning (Scotland) Bill. The Planning (Scotland) Bill was introduced into Parliament by the Scottish Government on 4 December 2017. The Scottish Government explains that the Bill will improve the system of development planning, giving people a greater say in the future of their places and support delivery of planned development.

Organisations and individuals were invited to submit written evidence to the Committee setting out their views on the Planning (Scotland) Bill.  Those views will then inform the Committee’s scrutiny of the Bill. The call for written evidence has now closed.

The Committee recognises that for some their views of the planning system will be informed by their personal experiences. In responding to the Committee you may however wish to note that the Committee will not become involved in or investigate individual cases or specific planning applications. In those circumstances you may wish to focus your written evidence on the Bill and how it is likely to improve the planning system. 

Read the call for evidence.

Written Submissions

The following written submissions were received:

Read the written submissions received.

Summary of Written Evidence

The Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) has produced the following summary of the written submissions received:

Oral Evidence

Wednesday 28 February 2018

The Committee took evidence from:

  • Clare Symonds, Chair, and Dr Andy Inch, Trustee, Planning Democracy;
  • Dr Calum MacLeod, Policy Director, Community Land Scotland;
  • Ian Cooke, Director, Development Trusts Association Scotland;
  • Petra Biberbach, Chief Executive, PAS;

and then from—

  • Beverley Whitrick, Strategic Director, Music Venue Trust;
  • Tom Kiehl, Director of Government and Public Affairs, UK Music.

Link to Papers for meeting on 28 February 2018
Link to Official Report of meeting on 28 February 2018

Supplementary Written Submissions from Meeting on 28 February 2018

The following supplementary written submissions from organisations who attended the meeting on 28 February 2018 (and from those who were invited to attend but could not due to travel difficulties caused by the weather) were received:

Wednesday 7 March 2018

The Committee took evidence from:

  • Tammy Swift-Adams, Director of Planning, Homes for Scotland;
  • Jenny Hogan, Deputy Chief Executive, Scottish Renewables;
  • Gordon Nelson, Director, Federation of Master Builders Scotland; Sarah Boyack, Head of Public Affairs, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations;
  • Jonathan Fair, Regional Managing Director - Scotland, McCarthy and Stone;

and then from—

  • Kate Houghton, Policy and Practice Officer, RTPI Scotland;
  • Malcolm Fraser, Consultant Architect;
  • Professor Cliff Hague, Emeritus Professor of Planning and Spatial Development, Heriot-Watt University;
  • Stuart Tait, Manager and Dorothy McDonald, Assistant Manager, Clydeplan. 

Link to Papers for meeting on 7 March 2018
Link to Official Report of meeting on 7 March 2018

Supplementary Written Submissions from Meeting on 7 March 2018 

The following supplementary written submissions from organisations who attended the meeting on 7 March 2018 were received:

Wednesday 14 March 2018

The Committee took evidence from:

  • Graeme Purves, Chair, Built Environment Forum Scotland;
  • Diarmid Hearns, Head of Policy, National Trust for Scotland;
  • Aileen MacKenzie, Planning Manager, Scottish Water;
  • Aedán Smith, Convener, Planning Group, Scottish Environment LINK;

and then from—

  • Cllr Steven Heddle, Environment and Economy Spokesperson, COSLA;
  • Robert Gray, Chair, Heads of Planning Scotland;
  • Gavin Miles, Head of Planning and Communities, Cairngorms National Park Authority; 
  • David Leslie, Chief Planning Officer, and Kate Hopper, Senior Planning Officer, City of Edinburgh Council;
  • Ailsa Anderson, Member, Steering Group, Scottish Young Planners' Network

Link to Papers for meeting on 14 March 2018
Link to Official Report of meeting on 14 March 2018

Wednesday 21 March 2018

The Committee will take evidence from:

  • Kevin Stewart, Minister for Local Government and Housing, John McNairney, Chief Planner, Andy Kinnaird, Bill Manager, and Norman Macleod, Senior Principal Legal Officer, Scottish Government.

Link to Papers for meeting on 21 March 2018


Call for Written Evidence

  • Friday 15 December 2017: launch of call for written evidence
  • Friday 2 February 2018: closure of call for written evidence

Oral Evidence

The Committee anticipates holding oral evidence sessions at Stage 1 of the Bill on the following dates. Please note that the times are indicative only and subject to change on the day of the meeting:

Wednesday 28 February 2018:

Panel 1 (9.15 am): Planning Democracy, Community Land Scotland, Development Trusts Association Scotland, PAS;

Panel 2 (11.15 am): Music Venues Trust, UK Music, DF Concerts, the Sub Club, Mick Cooke.


Wednesday 7 March 2018:

Panel 3 (9.15 am): Homes for Scotland, Scottish Renewables, Federation of Master Builders Scotland, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, McCarthy and Stone;

Panel 4 (11.15 am): Royal Town Planning Institute Scotland, Malcolm Fraser, Professor Cliff Hague, Clydeplan.


Wednesday 14 March 2018:

Panel 5 (9.15 am): Built Environment Forum Scotland, National Trust for Scotland, Scottish Water, Scottish Environment Link;

Panel 6 (11.15 am): COSLA, Heads of Planning Scotland, Cairngorms National Park Authority, City of Edinburgh Council.


Wednesday 21 March 2018:

9.15 am: Minister for Local Government and Housing, Scottish Government.

Visits and Events

Community Events: Monday 5 February 2018

The Committee held events in Portree, Stonehaven and Motherwell on Monday 5 February 2018 to discuss the Planning (Scotland) Bill with Community Councils and community groups. Summary notes of the events are published below:

Visit to Linlithgow: Monday 19 February 2018

Members of the Committee visited Linlithgow on Monday 19 February 2018 to meet with representatives of the Linlithgow Planning Forum and officers of West Lothian Council to discuss the value of local place plans within the context of the reforms proposed by the Planning (Scotland) Bill. A summary note of the discussions held is published below:

Planning (Scotland) Bill Conference: Monday 26 February 2018

The Committee held a half-day conference at Forth Valley College in Stirling on Monday 26 February 2018. The conference was attended by stakeholder organisations with an interest in the Planning (Scotland) Bill. The organisations were broken into groups (facilitated by Committee members) to discuss the Bill and summary notes of the discussions and the organisations represented are published below:

Summary Notes:


The Minister for Local Government and Housing wrote to the Convener on 16 February 2018 in relation to Agent of Change and planning:

The Minister for Local Government and Housing wrote to the Convener on 19 March 2018 in relation to equal/third party rights of appeal:

Work by other Committees

The Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee published its report on the Planning (Scotland) Bill on 13 March 2018: