Scilly Ready For New Planning Framework

The Council’s Chief Planning Officer says Scilly is well prepared for the upcoming changes in planning legislation.

Craig Dryden says the Government’s new planning framework, rolled out as part of the wide-ranging Localism Act, simplifies the “plethora of regulations and planning layers” that his department previously had to take into consideration.

He says all planning applications must now be judged against a Local Development Plan, and that’s something we already have in place in Scilly, unlike many mainland councils.

Craig says if an application fits into the Development Plan, it’s likely to go through and if it doesn’t, it probably won’t.

The new planning framework will focus on three areas.

These are building a strong and competitive economy and supporting vibrant, healthy communities for example through access to affordable housing and services.

However, the environmental aspect, which has taken priority in recent years, will now be looked at in the overall balance although Craig says National Parks and AONBs will still be afforded “the highest protection.”

Bill Wilson, the Council’s Planning Consultant, says the Government has dropped the controversial renewable energy targets that where previously included in planning legislation.

Bill says then new guidelines remove 20-plus documents, weighing in at over 1300 pages.

However, the proposed ‘Community Right to Build’ scheme, which would require 90 per cent community support before new, small-scale development could go ahead, has been dropped.

Craig says this has now been replaced by a ‘neighbourhood forum’ scheme, where a group of at least 21 members with written constitution, and similar to a parish council, could influence local planning decisions.

However, he says the legislation surrounding this is still unclear.

Craig says most people won’t really notice any differences in the new planning system and the applications currently in process won’t be affected.

He said it’s “business as usual” for his department.