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Planning (Scotland) Act 2019

Sections 5 & 6:  Strategic development:  regional spatial strategies and removal of requirement to prepare strategic development plans

26.Section 5 of the Act inserts sections 4ZA to 4ZE into the 1997 Act, introducing the requirement for a planning authority, or two or more authorities acting jointly, to prepare and adopt a regional spatial strategy. These replace strategic development plans, which are removed by section 6 of the Act and its repeal of sections 4 to 14 of the 1997 Act. Paragraph 1 of schedule 2 of the Act sets out minor amendments consequential on the removal of strategic development plans.

27.New section 4ZA(1) sets out the requirement for planning authorities to prepare and adopt regional spatial strategies. Subsection (2) states that a regional spatial strategy is a long term spatial strategy and sets out what the strategy should cover, including setting out the area (or areas) to which it relates (‘the region’) and identifying the need for strategic development, the outcomes, priorities and proposed locations (to be shown in the form of a map or diagram).

28.Subsection (3) requires authorities to publish a draft of the strategy, a summary of information taken into account in preparing the draft strategy, and a statement inviting representations on the draft. Authorities are also required to send the draft strategy to other relevant authorities who may be significantly impacted by the strategic development that the strategy covers, the key agencies and any others as appropriate. Under subsection (4) authorities are also required to publish the adopted strategy, and to submit it to Ministers.

29.Subsection (5) defines strategic development as development that is likely to have a significant impact on future development within the area of more than one planning authority.

30.New section 4ZB sets out that the Scottish Ministers must have regard to regional spatial strategies in preparing, revising or amending the National Planning Framework, and planning authorities must have regard to their regional spatial strategy in preparing, revising or amending a local development plan.

31.New section 4ZC sets out arrangements for the first strategies to be prepared and for how strategies are to be reviewed and revised. Subsection (1) requires regional spatial strategies to be prepared as soon as reasonably practicable after section 5 of the Act comes into force. Subsection (2) requires planning authorities to keep their adopted regional spatial strategy under review, and allows them to prepare and adopt a replacement strategy if they consider it appropriate at any time. Subsection (3) requires a review at least once every 10 years, following which (subsection (4)) authorities either have to prepare and adopt a replacement strategy, or to publish an explanation of why they have decided not to do so. Subsection (5) makes it clear that a replacement strategy is to be prepared and treated in the same way as the original strategy.

32.New section 4ZD allows the Scottish Ministers to direct a planning authority or authorities to prepare and adopt a regional spatial strategy, or to review an adopted strategy. Any such direction can specify the matters that authorities should take into account in preparing or reviewing the strategy. Subsection (3) requires authorities to co-operate with one another when such a direction is made.

33.New section 4ZE(1) makes provision for Scottish Ministers to issue guidance on the preparation, adoption, review and content of regional spatial strategies. Subsection (2) requires planning authorities to have regard to any such guidance when preparing or adopting a regional spatial strategy. Before issuing such guidance, subsection (3) requires the Scottish Ministers to consult each planning authority and any other persons as appropriate. Subsection (4) requires that the guidance is made publicly available. Under subsection (5) the guidance can be varied or revoked.

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