Planning and Architecture

Development Plan Forum 2018 – Workshop Summary – Introduction

May 29, 2018 by No Comments | Category Development Plan Forum 2018

Two workshop sessions were delivered after lunch. In separate groups, all delegates took part in a facilitated ‘show and tell’ discussion to share Development Planning practice that aligns with new ways of working advocated in planning reform. The second workshop session then followed on to focus on six more detailed topics:

A. Corporate working

B. A place based plan – what does it look like?

C. 2018: Engaging young people in planning

D. S75 and STF – Learning from Aberdeenshire

E. CPO – how can it help you deliver the housing and infrastructure in your plan?

F. Digital Task Force – opportunities and potential for plan making

The following notes summarise participant comments and are not necessarily the views of the Scottish Government who helped to facilitate the workshops.

Part 1 Workshops – ‘New ways of working’

Groups were invited to think about how current practice aligns with new ways of working advocated in planning reform and reflect on what can be done more, less, or differently. Feedback was generally grouped under themes as shown below:

Evidence / digital / data
  • A loss of statistical resource in LAs was noted
  • Joint working pulling resources together nationally was suggested e.g. HLA info / online national LDP portal
  • Need for more publically available map-based information and awareness it is there
  • Could HLAs be prepared the same way nationally to give a consistent basis for measurement
  • Should HLAs be used as the basis for infrastructure delivery plans, linked to PA capital plans
  • When thinking about evidence need to think about what scales of ‘planning’ it can support: national, regional, sub-regional, cities etc
  • SEA: to be proportionate – can have links to site assessment and the Delivery Programme
  • There is a clear link with the digital theme with all of the above
  • A key issue is managing volumes of data. One council is considering getting data providers to identify what theme or topic their comments or data rest within, removing the need for lots of time to be spent making that judgement call. This may be in part managed through IT but IT is not always the only solution and there are many policies and protocols in place which mean that different councils have different permissions on the use of software and internet platforms.
  • More frontloading is required in plan preparation, supported by consistent evidence base requirements.
Link C+S Planning
  • Pull together the DP and CP teams
  • Link LOIP themes to LDPs to make connections
  • Locality in Local Plan – working with communities officers.
Community Participation / engagement
  • This should be focused and provided at the right time supporting use of community led action plans.
    There is a need for smarter engagement rather than more, recognising that all communities are different.
  • Planning’s focus should be on ‘place’ and this is the obvious way to engage better with communities rather than land use focused.
  • Use of the Place Standard; but a number using a simplified version
  • More consultation with young people
  • Clearer idea of what ‘representative’ means for community bodies
  • More support for Community Councils to do the work themselves
  • We should have a clear strategy for engagement; our work should be valuable, easy to understand and engaging. There is a lot of room for creativity in how we engage.
  • The language planners use is a barrier to accessibility of what we are doing. Going to people, using their language are helpful ways to improve engagement.
  • Mapping is a default tool for planners but not understood by
  • everyone. Other visual tools such as photos are also valid but sometimes there are questions over precision, for example site boundaries, when you move off maps. However this just flags that a multi-media approach is important.
  • Ways to link infrastructure needs and costs / funds to development?
  • Link to Land Reform and Scottish Land Commission.
  • Main theme that came through was an increased focus on enabling delivery of sites that are in the plan. Expectation that less time spent on preparation of the plan should free up time and resources to focus on delivery of sites and projects (e.g. district heating mentioned as a topic that needed work). Interest from some in exploring the role that SDZs could play in helping with this.
  • Principle of Infrastructure Levy welcomed by all but ‘devil in the detail’ and some concern about how this will work in areas where land values are low.
  • To support this there is a need to prove that planning can make a difference.
  • There is a need to narrow the gulf between constraint and delivery.
Collaborate / partner working
  • Expectation of increased collaboration a) internally between different parts of the council and b) externally with developers and infrastructure providers to enable delivery of sites.
  • Share skills and knowledge throughout the process rather than rigid “consultation” only contact (with key agencies, etc). e.g. work together, learn from each other, share resources, to make process efficient.
  • Close collaboration of joint consultation process with community planning and schools and ‘your place, your plan’.
  • There is a need to better manage expectations on what planning can realistically deliver.
 Place based / branding
  • How big is a place and who defines it?
  • Place-based projects – using charrettes to engage communities + community planning partners.
  • ·Branding when place based was seen as successful but also relates to what we are selling – a development plan, a community plan or a burger van; communities just want results and are less concerned about the process.
  • Key design principles – diagrammatic mini-development briefs
  • Design panel

Planning across scale


  • Some welcoming of things moving to national level (i.e. housing numbers being set in NPF) but tempered with some concern about how much of an opportunity LAs would have to input to how these numbers were decided.
  • Some concern about removal of supplementary guidance from the LDP. Appreciation that too much detail currently in SPGs but concern that streamlined plans won’t provide level of detail some are looking for. Also welcome current opportunity to review SPG before full LDP reviewed and concern about whether/how this will be possible under new system?
Resourcing / Corporate
  • Concern that if less officer resource needed to prepare plan this will result in Planning Department staff numbers being cut because it’s not a statutory function (e.g. short-term contract staff to prepare plan and then not replaced until next plan needs to be prepared?)
  • Whole plan viability assessment
  • Consideration needs to be made at local level of the appropriate skills mix within planning teams to allow more focus on delivery – not just planners working in isolation, bring transport, flooding, community, housing specialists into project delivery teams. This may require structural change of resources to support.
  • There needs to be better joining up between services and more flexible operational models, recognising that no one size fits all circumstances. There is potential for short-term teams to come together (not always planners) to support and focus on delivery.
  • There may need to be further consideration on changing governance structure and the ways people want to work.

Overriding observations from the Part 1 workshop included:

  • doing one thing for different purposes helps with consistency, avoids duplication and achieves more by doing less
  • themes overlap and interlink – e.g. interactive mapping links ‘engaging’ with ‘data’; collaborative working is happening through linking community and spatial planning; proactively engaging with communities and community planning
  • many of the initiatives that seek to make best use of limited resources point towards taking a proactive approach to achieving wider benefits over the whole life of places
  • this has implications for skills development, resourcing, communication and language

Examples of ‘new ways of working’ provided as part of delegate registration included:

Currently working on 3d visualisation fly through videos to time with publication of PLDP. Intention is to create a 2-min video for each of the community planning defined locality areas in North Ayrshire showing a fly through of what LDP means. It is hoped this will be a more engaging tool to communicate impact of the LDP, which users will be able to understand in a more visual way, and which would reduce the need to read traditional documents. This has been promoted by consultants to both DP and DM HOPS groups. However, this visualisation is created in house through GIS and is therefore, essentially free to produce. A sample of this has been trialled for North Ayrshire’s housing land supply and is on Youtube (see here: ), and has so far received positive feedback, and NAC is presenting to SYPN on this and other digital working within NAC planning. This has obvious ties with the digital workshop.

A tiered approach to planning policy guidance that is transferable to a world without statutory supplementary guidance.

Early promotion of Growth projects to upgrade Scottish Water’s treatment works. Modelling work to determine network upgrade requirements in advance of development coming forward.

Partnership working – data sharing with other agencies Collaboration with other Key Agencies (SEPA/SNH)

Isle of Rum Community Land Use Plan (example of a local place plan)

Workflow and time management through the LDP process. Orkney Islands Council commenced information gathering and early consultation in June 2014 and adopted the Plan in May 2017, within a small team.

From West Lothians LDP1, all 11 Secondary Schools Environmental Education cluster approached with questionnaire tailored to S4-S6 / Free maps and lesson plan (FAILED – no Take-up!)

LDP Story map

There are a number of things I am working towards and having meetings and presentations about but that I haven’t actually implemented yet. Key ones are working with Education Services to engage more effectively with young people and working with Communities service of the Council to better integrate Planning and Community Planning.

SLC has established a Community Infrastructure Assessment Officer Working Group to help prevent delays in the processing of major planning applications and to ensure a balance is struck between setting contributions at a level that addresses projected impacts and ensuring that the development remains viable.

The Council is currently working with the local community in Foxbar, Paisley to prepare a Place Plan. Part of this work will involve the preparation of a ‘How to Guide’ which will help other communities across Renfrewshire prepare a Place Plan for their area.

Use of the Place Standard tool during consultation with secondary school pupils. This followed the use of cognitive mapping with the same age group during preparation of the

current LDP. In general terms the Council has used a range of approaches to engage the general public in development planning including cognitive mapping, a video, town centre standpoints and the place standard. Results have been fed to colleagues involved in community planning.

Social Pinpoint, application of digital tools in Development Plans.

Aspire Arbroath – post charette action plan. Example of integrated of spatial and community planning.

…exploring new ways of collaborative working.

Addressing housing land and housing delivery separately – emerging outcomes.

Looking to implement the GDPR and the planning legislation with regards to publishing representations in the public domain during the LDP process.

Development Planning team supported Community Planning staff to analyse comments received through community survey undertaken using the Place Standard tool.

Developer Obligations. Working towards a more proactive evidence based approach to identifying DO. This will include the use of a form of community asset plan to allow communities to engage with the DO process. Pilot projects have been undertaken with environmental services to help identify suitable projects

We are currently at pre-MIR stage of our LDP2022. In preparation for our MIR we are considering options on reforming our plan to take account of the removal of supplementary guidance (policy based, and place based masterplans) and the MIR. At MIR stage, along with our Main Issues we intend to have draft policies for comment, in effect an ‘early proposed plan’. This will allow for consultation and modification of policies before we reach proposed plan stage.

FIFEplan Action Programme. LEAN project management.

LDP2 Major Areas of Change graphical guidance – intended to be ‘mini development briefs’ for large strategic growth area.

Youth engagement using place standard – Youth engagement around Helix Park encouraging young people to assess their environment using the place standard.

Open space improvement programme (demonstrating award winning Open Space Strategy in action)

Shieldhill core path – use of CPO to secure ‘missing link’ in local core path network. Bellsdyke, Larbert masterplan – implementation (demonstrating what we have achieved through long term masterplanning)

These notes summarise participant comments and are not necessarily the views of the Scottish Government who helped to facilitate the workshops.