Planning blog archive

Planning for Infrastructure Research Project: Final Report (published August 14 2015)

HFS Principal Planning Advisor Tammy Adams

Delivering infrastructure is central to enabling the development of much-needed homes, and bringing local authority plans to life. Yet confidence and effectiveness in this essential area of strategic planning is not where it needs to be in many parts of Scotland.

Homes for Scotland welcomes the Scottish Government’s decision to highlight this issue and encourage good practice across the country. It is also pleasing that 95% of local authorities in Scotland have contributed to this research. However the research report, which sets out no less than 35 recommendations, hides neither the scale of the challenge nor the amount of work which is still to be done.

Success will require creative and open collaboration between a wide range of parties. Rarely, if ever, can all of the desired new infrastructure be delivered purely through developer contributions. The early stages of plan-making is the ideal time to focus on infrastructure – but it is also important to take action now in localities with well-established plans that are not being implemented because infrastructure issues are blocking the ability of councils to support positive proposals for new homes.

The case studies set out in the research report suggest that many local and strategic planning authorities are open to new ways of thinking about infrastructure delivery. It is essential, though, that new delivery mechanisms are worked-up in liaison with the home building industry, statutory agencies and other interested and informed parties.

A strong and deliverable spatial strategy is also crucial, particularly where prudential borrowing or forward funding is undertaken with a view to recovering funds as development takes place. More land needs to be allocated in viable market areas and places where, if possible, infrastructure requirements are more limited.

Homes for Scotland would be very keen to talk to any authorities seeking to develop or strengthen their own approaches to infrastructure delivery, both at the local and regional level.

We look forward to the Scottish Government’s response to the report recommendations, and would welcome any opportunity to discuss how we and the home building industry can help in taking them forward.

Published 18 August 2015

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