Planning decisions, timescales

THERE were 10,902 decisions on so-called ‘local developments’ during the first six months of 2020/21, according to statistics on planning applications, released by the Scottish Government.

Says the government, the 10,902 figure was 2,969 fewer than the same period in the previous year.

Says a government announcement: “The average decision time for the 9,619 of these which were not subject to processing agreements was ten weeks, one week slower than the nine weeks for the first six months of 2019/20.

“Both the number of applications and average decision times were impacted on by restrictions due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

It continues: “In quarter one of 2020/21, there were 616 local development applications with processing agreements [a project management tool that sets out the key processes involved in determining a planning application, identifying what information is required from all stakeholders involved, and setting timescales for the delivery of various stages of the process] 78.9 per cent of which (486) met agreed timescales that had been set between developers and local authorities. In quarter two. there were 667, 69.1 per cent (461) meeting the agreed timescales.”

Meanwhile, for so-called ‘major developments’, there were 120 decisions about them during the first six months of 2020/21, 51 fewer than in the same period in the previous year.

The average decision time for the 82 of these not subject to processing agreements was 39 weeks, over seven weeks slower than the 31.7 weeks for the same period in 2019/20.

“The average decision time figures of 35.9 and 41.2 weeks for quarters one and two have been influenced by a number of lengthier decision times, including 15 decision times of longer than a year – six in quarter one and nine in quarter two.

“Two applications in quarter one took over two years, three applications in quarter two had decision times of over two years, two of these taking over four years.

“If the applications that took over two years are excluded the average decision time for quarter one would be 31.1 weeks, almost five weeks quicker. For quarter two, the average decision time would be 31.9 weeks, a reduction of more than nine weeks.”

Source: Planning performance statistics 2020/2021, Scottish Government, here, January 26 2021.

Picture credit: Place Design Scotland

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