Planning times

The latest planning performance statistics for Scotland’s 34 planning authorities suggest there is still major room for improvement in the time taken to determine planning applications.

The average decision time for major applications was 36.6 weeks in 2014/15, two weeks slower than in 2013/14. This remains well above the target period of 16 weeks.

In total, nine authorities met the 16-week average target, up from five in the previous year. So there is some reason to feel encouraged that things are moving in the right direction. Orkney was the best performing authority, taking an average seven weeks to decide major applications, and was joined by Argyll and Bute, Clackmannanshire, Dundee, Inverclyde, Loch Lomond, Moray, North Ayrshire and Renfrewshire in meeting the 16-week target.

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Failure to take a decision on major developments without delay can be a real obstacle to economic development. The longer these projects remain stuck in planning, the more difficult it is to maintain a pipeline of new work for the construction sector. Efforts need to be redoubled to streamline the planning process and to give planning departments the necessary resources to make quicker decisions.

Vaughan Hart

Scottish Building