Planning & Environment

My wife dragged me to Newcraighall Village at the weekend on a shopping expedition. Little did she know that it’s part of a planning cause celebre.

Following a change in the law, reporters’ recommendations following local development plan examinations are (almost) binding. As a developer said to me, that’s fine, until the reporter recommends taking your site out of the plan.

It’s interesting to muse on the difference it would have made if the new law had applied to the City of Edinburgh local plan. The issue was sites to fulfil the requirement in the structure plan for 400 houses in Edinburgh’s Urban Fringe. The Council proposed 2 sites in Newcraighall. The reporters recommended that the capacity of those sites be reduced, and 2 further sites at Dreghorn and Burdiehouse be allocated. The councillors did not accept the recommendation, and retained the allocation of the 2 sites in Newcraighall.

Since then the Court of Session quashed the allocation of the Newcraighall sites; and planning permission appeals have been successful for the Burdiehouse and Dreghorn sites; and the Council is processing planning applications for the Newcraighall sites.

The Council adopted the local plan in January 2010. One Court of Session case and two planning appeals later, and the reporter’s recommendations have broadly been implemented. That’s two developers who would have preferred reporters’ recommendations to be binding.

One to watch is the North Lanarkshire local plan. The reporters have issued an interim conclusion that additional effective housing land is needed in the Cumbernauld housing sub market area, and have contacted parties seeking their views on the 39 sites which have been suggested to the reporters.

Neil Collar

Partner at Brodies LLP
Neil is a partner at Brodies LLP and consistently rated as one of Scotland’s leading planning lawyers. He is well known for both his planning inquiry advocacy and his advisory work. Neil has a particular interest in renewable energy developments.
Neil Collar