Planning & Environment

The planning statistics for 2008/09 are now out. They tell a grim tale of the start of the recession – a decline in the number of planning applications from 2006/07 of 13.5 percent. Things look worst in the small towns of the west central Scotland – North Ayrshire and North Lanarkshire suffered a decline of 25 percent in applications, the four cities were at or about average, while northern and island areas held up well (applications in Shetland and Eilean Siar actually rose).

There are stats on speed of decisions in each authority. In 2009, Clackmannanshire was the clear winner with 88 percent of applications decided in two months, compared with the Scottish average of 59 percent. If you think that made Clacks the best place to be a developer, bear in mind that in Eilean Siar you were most likely to get consent, with 99 percent of all applications approved. Leaving aside national parks, Perth & Kinross evidently have the most onerous standards for approving applications (or receive the worst applications) because they had the lowest percentage of approvals – only 85.4 percent.

The rise and rise of the planning agreement continued: although the stats show a slight fall in the number of section 75s, the rate per consent rose. Scottish Borders was the keenest, concluding 98, more than three times the number concluded by Glasgow and well ahead of Edinburgh.

Puritanical Glasgow took the most formal enforcement action serving 128 formal notices, while laid-back Edinburgh served only 39, fewer than Aberdeenshire, South Lanarkshire or Highland.

Here’s something that took me by surprise, and perhaps someone can explain: why is it that the more rural an area is, the more planning applications it produces? Compare Glasgow’s 51 applications per 1000 population to Highland’s 179 per 1000 or Eilean Siar’s 192 per 1000. Should the Brodies’ planning team consider relocating to Barra?

Planning & Environment