Scottish Liberal Democrats have today called on the Scottish Government to ensure that the forthcoming Planning Bill gives local communities a "genuine voice" in planning decisions.
The party's announcement comes as former First Minister Henry McLeish launches a new alliance of organisations working across the planning and placemaking sectors pressing for a more inclusive, collaborative and innovative planning system when the Planning Bill is introduced to Holyrood later this year. The alliance includes organisations such as the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations and COSLA.
Scottish Liberal Democrat housing spokesperson Caron Lindsay said:
"Scottish Liberal Democrats have consistently argued against the SNP’s centralisation agenda which has seen power and decision making stripped from communities and instead hoarded in Edinburgh. Local communities quite rightly feel that the current system is stacked against them – the key is changing it for the better so that we get better decisions in the first place resulting in the number of appeals being significantly reduced.
"It is essential that the Scottish Government ensure communities have a genuine voice in the planning appeals system and that power is restored to the hands of local communities, elected members, councils and planning authorities. For example, central government officials shouldn't be allowed to overturn decisions that have been reasonably made by local planning committees.
"Scottish Liberal Democrats will press for a genuine shift towards local democracy."