The Planning service is as busy as ever with large number of planning applications and enforcement queries coming through the door. Key projects are continuing to progress including City Plan 2030 and the Low Emissions Zone. At the same time, we have a continuous programme of improvement to address changes such as the new planning fees and to ensure our processes are as efficient and robust as possible.
Whilst there is much positive news, we do recognise that planning applications are taking longer to assess and determine than we would like, and we are not always meeting our statutory timescales. We know we need to do better. We are looking at a number of measures to address the backlog.
If you have recently submitted or about to submit an application, please pay particular attention to your acknowledgement letter at this time.
Photographs & relevant contextual plans
It would help significantly if you could provide the following information at the time of application submission or upload as additional information post submission:
Photographs showing the location of the work and the wider context (including interiors for listed building consent applications)
Fees for planning applications set by the Scottish Government change on 1 April 2022 for almost all application types. This means everything submitted to us on or after 1 April 2022 will be affected including:
‘full’ planning permission
planning permission in principle
certificates of lawfulness
Amongst the changes, the standard ‘householder’ fee increases from £202 to £300, whilst the standard fee for the construction of one new house increases from £401 to £600.
Due to the current Covid restrictions, planning officers are unable to undertake site visits.
However, it is important for everybody that we keep assessing and determining planning applications.
If you are submitting a planning application, it would be extremely helpful to us if you could provide photographs and relevant contextual plans as part of your submission. This information will be requested but it would help the assessment process go faster if they are provided at the start. Photographs do not need to be made publicly available.
Here we are, Christmas 2020. The markets are closed, we aren’t gathering for our usual Christmas parties and fireworks will not adorn the sky however, we do have the opportunity to reflect on what we have come through this year and lessons learned.
Despite the unexpected challenges we have all faced this year; as a service, as a city, we have continued to press on. I’m sure you will all agree that 2020 has been difficult and such circumstances have forced radical change. As a service, the way in which we work on a daily basis has significantly altered. A service of over 100 people shift from a safe office environment to one which offered no access to that space we’ve been used to; instead we work from our kitchen tables, our studies, our dens, our bedrooms, our garden sheds.
When the announcement back in March was made to pack our desks and take our laptops home, reality struck, and we realised radical change and adaptation was required to deliver the same level of service. New policies and procedures as well as new I.T. systems and software have been implemented to enable the service to continue to function. Our dedicated staff have quickly adapted to new ways of working whilst balancing a very different home life.
As highlighted in our time performance blog, we are beginning to see the fruits of our labour. The changes we have implemented and efforts from all of those who engage with the service, are beginning to see improvements. However, the positive results don’t end with improved time performance within the service. We are proud of progress made on major projects which will play their part in building a positive future for the city. Recent updates include the City Plan 2030 and Low Emission Zones.
It is only from the dedication of our staff, the patience and support of our customers, stakeholders and communities, that we have managed to continue to deliver and improve the service. Once again, we would like to sincerely thank everyone for their efforts in helping the service through this challenging time and we ask that as we move forward into a new year, you continue to work with us as we continue to implement changes to improve the service for everyone.
To this end, 2020 has been a challenging year, a year of great sadness, frustration and, uncertainty however, let us reflect on the good, focus on our efforts and, recognise our achievements. 2020 has been a year where we have been given the opportunity to appreciate a way of life we took for granted in our 21st century existence however, we have proven to ourselves that we have what it takes to adapt to a new and strange environment, and we have the capacity to succeed!
Whilst we all undergo the necessary Covid-19 restrictions, we hope that as we enter the new year, we all continue to adapt and make the best of this new environment.
Finally, we wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year from all of us here in the Planning Service.
We would like to take this opportunity to share with you the results from our quarterly time performance review. Despite the challenges 2020 has encompassed, the service’s response to the restrictions enforced to protect us from Covid-19 has been positive.
The charts below show the average decision times taken to complete Major, Local and Householder applications. From the beginning of the year, there has been a general improvement in decision times across the service. In quarter two the service is delivering decisions at the national average, and we’re aiming to be even faster than that as we move forward.
This is great news! Whilst working hard to continue to deliver a planning service over the course of the year, our efforts to improve the service are beginning to show positive results. Once again, we would like to thank you for your patience and understanding when engaging with the service and we offer our thanks to the staff within the service who have made this achievement possible. Further information is available here.
Moving forward, we are continuing to develop new ways of working and strategies to ensure the planning service delivers high quality outcomes more efficiently.