News Submission and Responses

Branch submits evidence to UNISON’s submission on the proposed Planning Bill

Aberdeenshire UNISON has contributed to UNISON Scotland’s evidence to the Local Government Committee on the proposed Planning Bill.

The submission says, “The government states that: “The planning system supports the Scottish government’s purpose of creating a more successful country with opportunities for all to flourish through increasing sustainable economic growth.”

“UNISON is concerned that this suggests that planning must focus on economic development rather than community development. While the two are linked it should be made clearer that planning is about making lives better for people not businesses.”

It adds, “Planners tell us that they are overwhelmed by the volume and complexity of their workloads. They are also extremely stressed by the personal interaction that they often experience with clients. Good planning doesn’t require yet another reform programme. Improvement will come through adequate funding and staffing levels and empowering staff and giving them the time to do their work, reflect, learn and implement change. It is resources they need not reorganisation. We therefore welcome the opportunity to submit written evidence to the committee.”

Steve Gray
Steve Gray

Vice Chair, Steve Gray collated the views of UNISON members and made the following submission.

“The Planning Bill still relies on the private sector led approach to delivering affordable housing which has been tried and failed across Scotland and the UK. The delivery of affordable housing by the public sector particularly local authorities needs to be recognised and given due statutory support in the Planning Bill especially for the acquisition of land.

“The Planning Bill makes no reference for Climate Change Resilience which is worrying given the Bill changes the timescale of Local Development Plans from 5 years to 10 years and promotes a more active engagement for Council’s (planning authorities) through a regional partnership with the National Planning Framework to provide strategic guidance across the regional areas.

“The revised Section 3AA of the Bill lists what information planning authorities/reginal partnerships would be asked to contribute towards the National Planning Framework. The affordable housing needs and Climate Change Act duties need to be included.

These comments have been incorporated into the UNISON Scotland evidence which can be viewed here.

If you have any further comments please get in touch with Steve Gray through the UNISON Resource Centre 01224 620624.