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Planning (Scotland) Act 2019

Evidence report for preparation of local development plan

43.New section 16B introduces the evidence report and “gatecheck” process for local development plans. It requires an evidence report to be prepared, covering the matters specified in section 15(5) of the 1997 Act and other such matters as may be prescribed. The evidence report must also set out information on action taken by the planning authority in relation to meeting the housing needs of older people and disabled people, meeting the accommodation needs of Gypsies and Travellers, and inviting and supporting local communities to prepare local place plans.

44.Subsection (2) of new section 16B sets out groups the planning authority must consult with in preparing the evidence report, and subsection (4) requires the evidence report to include a statement on the consultation undertaken (with a different list of groups).

45.Under subsections (5) and (6), the evidence report must be approved by the full planning authority, before being submitted to the Scottish Ministers under subsection (7). These subsections do this by requiring the planning authority to approve the proposed evidence report before submitting it and then disapplying section 56 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 to the function of approving the proposed report (which means that the task cannot be delegated to, for example, a committee or an officer of the authority).

46.Subsections (8) to (12) provide for the Scottish Ministers to appoint a person to assess the report and sets out the process which applies depending on whether or not the appointed person is satisfied with the report. Subsection (13) allows for regulations to cover costs, procedure and what is to be assessed. Subsection (14) and (15) set out definitions for section 16B, including that the meaning of “Gypsies and Travellers” is to be specified in regulations. The Scottish Ministers must consult before making such regulations.

47.New section 16C provides that the Scottish Ministers may issue guidance to planning authorities about undertaking effective community engagement in relation to the local development plan. A planning authority must have regard to any such guidance.

48.New section 16D requires a planning authority to carry out a play sufficiency assessment in preparing an evidence report. The Scottish Ministers must make regulations about the form and content of this assessment, who must be consulted in relation to the assessment and about its publication.

49.Section 7(7) of the Act repeals section 17 of the 1997 Act. This removes the requirement for a main issues report to be prepared for a local development plan. Additional consequential changes to remove reference to main issues reports are also made in schedule 2 of the Act.

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