Strategic development planning
14.New section 4 gives the Scottish Ministers powers to designate the group of planning authorities which is to prepare each strategic development plan. Subsection (1) sets out when the group is to prepare the plan and requires it to keep the plan under review. Subsection (5) describes the group as the “strategic development plan authority” (SDPA), subsection (2) requires that no part of the area the plan covers is to be outside the districts of the planning authorities making up the SDPA, and subsection (6) requires that there is never more than one such plan for the area. Subsection (3) gives the Scottish Ministers power to direct that employees of the planning authorities comprising the SDPA will be assigned to the task of preparing the plan. Subsection (4) prevents Scottish Ministers from issuing such a direction within the 3 month period following the designation of the strategic development planning authority. Subsection (8) gives Ministers powers to request information from a planning authority on the assignment of staff for strategic development planning purposes, and requires the authority to provide the information within 14 days of the request. Subsection (9) provides further detail on the requirement in subsection (1)(b) to review a strategic development plan, both in terms of monitoring the changes in the area and monitoring the impact of the policies and proposals in the plan. Subsections (10) and (11) set out the requirements for publishing a statement on this monitoring.
15.New section 5 sets out the process for determining the boundary of the area to be covered by the strategic development plan. Subsection (1) requires each SDPA to submit to the Scottish Ministers a plan showing the proposed boundary for the area. Subsection (2) gives individual planning authorities a right to submit alternative plans if they do not agree with the boundary being proposed by the other authorities in the SDPA. Subsection (3) gives Scottish Ministers powers to determine where the boundary should be and subsection (4) gives the Scottish Ministers powers to request further information from either the SPDA or an individual planning authority before reaching their decision (which, under subsection (6), is final). Subsection (5) requires Ministers to give notice to the strategic development planning authority of their decision on the boundary, and to give reasons for their decision.
16.New section 6 gives the strategic development plan authority powers to change the boundary of the area to be covered by the strategic development plan, where there has been a material change in circumstances.
17.New section 7 gives details of the form and content of the strategic development plan. Subsection (1) describes the main items that it will contain. Subsections (2) and (3) relate to the maps and diagrams which are either to be contained in or to accompany the plan. Subsection (4) sets out the matters that must be considered in drawing up the vision statement referred to in subsection (1)(a).
18.New section 8 sets out the main sources of information on which the planning authority are to draw in preparing the plan. Subsection (1) requires the authority to take into account the National Planning Framework, and to have regard to matters prescribed by the Scottish Ministers and to other matters they think to be relevant. Subsection (2) gives the Scottish Ministers power to direct that the plan is completed by a specified day.
19.New section 9 describes how a main issues report is to be compiled in preparation for the strategic development plan. Subsection (1) requires the compilation of a main issues report, whose contents are defined in subsections (2) and (3). Subsection (4) sets out a duty to consult and subsection (5) places a duty on key agencies to co-operate with the authority in its production. Subsections (6) to (9) require the publication of the report, and that a copy is to be sent to the Scottish Ministers.
20.New section 10 covers the production of the proposed strategic development plan. Subsection (1) covers the production of the proposed plan and notification of this to relevant persons. Subsection (2) requires the specification of a date by which any representations about the plan must be made to the authority. Subsection (3)(a) permits modifications of the proposed plan and subsection (3)(b) covers the procedure for submitting the proposed plan to the Scottish Ministers after the period for making representations has ended. Subsections (4) and (5) set out the procedure for preparing and publishing a new proposed plan where the authority considers that modifications would change the underlying aims or strategy of the proposed plan. Subsection (7) requires the authority to advertise that they have submitted the plan to Scottish Ministers. Subsection (8) requires the proposed plan to be submitted within 4 years of the date when the current plan was approved, and subsection (9) places a duty on key agencies to cooperate in its production.
21.New section 11 sets out how individual planning authorities may submit alternative proposals where they are unable to agree on the content of the proposed plan.
22.New section 12 sets out the procedure that Scottish Ministers are to follow in examining a proposed strategic development plan. Subsection (1) gives them a duty in certain circumstances to direct that a person appointed by them will examine the plan, and subsection (2) requires that person to examine the extent to which the authority’s carrying out of consultation on the plan conforms with its participation statement. Subsections (3) to (5) give details of the financial and procedural arrangements for such examinations, and the duties of the strategic development planning authority and the Scottish Ministers to advertise and serve notice of any direction made under subsection (1). Subsections (6) to (8) cover the preparation of the report, its publication and its submission to the Scottish Ministers.
23.New section 12A sets out how the person appointed under new section 12 is to proceed if not satisfied with the way the planning authority have carried out the consultation on the proposed plan. Subsection (1) requires a report to be prepared and sent to the Scottish Ministers and copied to the planning authority. Subsection (2) gives the authority 4 weeks to make representations to Ministers. Subsections (3) to (5) give powers of direction to Ministers in relation to further steps to be taken by the authority and the appointed person carrying out the examination required under new section 12(1). Subsections (6) and (7) set out the procedure for preparing and publishing a new proposed plan where the authority consider that modifications would change the underlying aims or strategy of the proposed plan. Subsection (8) requires the authority to advertise that they have submitted the plan to Ministers. Subsections (9) and (10) apply sections 11, 12, 12A and 13 to a proposed plan submitted following modification as a result of further consultation in the same way as they apply to the original proposed plan, but with necessary modifications.
24.New section 13 sets out the procedure to be followed by the Scottish Ministers on receipt of the plan. Subsection (1) allows Ministers to approve, amend or reject the plan. If approved, it then becomes the strategic development plan. Subsection (4) covers modification of the proposed plan. Subsections (5) and (6) require Ministers to specify a date by which any representations with respect to the proposed modifications must be made to them, before the final decision on the plan. Subsection (7) clarifies the meaning of modifications at this stage, while subsection (8) requires Ministers to notify the planning authority of any such representations.
25.New section 14 gives details of the publication and publicity arrangements for a strategic development plan, once it has been finally approved.