Douglas Milne: Local Place Plans – what you need to know
In October 2021 the Town and Country Planning (Local Place Plans) (Scotland) Regulations 2021 were laid before the Scottish Parliament. The background to these regulations is found in Section 14 of the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019.
This amended the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 to permit local communities to prepare “Local Place Plans”.
Section 14 provides that before preparing a Local Development Plan, a planning authority are to publish inter alia (i) an invitation to local communities in their district to prepare Local Place Plans, and (ii) information on the manner and date by which the Local Place Plans are to be prepared in order to be taken into account in the preparation of the Local Development Plan.
A Local Place Plan is a plan prepared by a community body, that contains proposals as to the development or use of land, and it can identify land and buildings that the community body considers to be of particular significance to the area. The LPP Regulations set out that one of the matters to which a community body must have regard in preparing Local Place Plans is any locality plan published for the area. A locality plan is defined in S10(3) of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015, which states that it is a plan setting out for the locality (a) the local outcomes to which priority is to be given, (b) a description of the proposed improvement in the achievement of the outcomes; and (c) the period within which the proposed improvement is to be achieved.
In general, the LPP Regulations set out the form and content of a Local Place Plan, and the steps required to be taken before submission of a Local Place Plan (notices are to be sent to each councillor for the local place plan area, the community council, and information on the date by which representations are to be made).
The LPP Regulations also set out that the information to be submitted with a local place plan includes:
- (If the Local Place Plan is submitted by a community body) a statement explaining how the community body, in preparing the Local Place Plan, has had regard to the Local Development Plan, the National Planning Framework and (if applicable) any locality plan for the local place plan area.
- A statement setting out why the community body considers that the Local Development Plan should be amended.
- A statement setting out the community body’s view on the level and nature of support for the Local Place Plan and the basis on which the community body has reached that view (including a description of any consultation undertaken).
The LPP Regulations then contain rules relating to the keeping of a register of Local Place Plans, how Local Place Plans can be removed from the register, and how the map of registered Local Place Plans is to be made available for inspection by the public.
Subject to the Scottish Parliament’s approval, the LPP Regulations will come into force on 22 January 2022. The point to note about Local Place Plans is that they can be taken into account in the preparation of the Local Development Plan. Local Place Plans can also contain a statement setting out why a community body considers that the Local Development Plan should be amended. Whilst there is no clarity in the LPP Regulations as to how amending a Local Development Plan would operate, the fact that Local Place Plans have to be taken into account in the creation or amendment of a Local Development Plan provides another avenue by which communities can have their views taken on board in planning decisions (as planning decisions are to make in accordance with the development plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise). Local Place Plans can also contain statements as to the development or use of land (specific areas of land or particular buildings) and so can therefore allow community bodies a greater degree of influence over, for example, the refurbishment or re-development of locally important sites.
The concept of Local Place Plans is not dissimilar to the Neighbourhood Planning system which operates in England. The difference is that a Neighbourhood Plan forms part of the development plan: as set out above, Local Place Plans do not form part of the Local Development Plan but are to be taken account of.
Further differences between Neighbourhood Plans and Local Places Plans are that a Neighbourhood Plan can be put to a local referendum, and that Neighbourhood Plans are incentivised as communities can benefit from 25% of the Community Infrastructure Levy arising from development in their area. The provisions for Local Place Plans in Scotland are not as wide-reaching.