Place Plans and planned Government policy – a longer read

The Scottish Government aims to update their National Planning Framework (NPF4) by 2022. The aim to create a series of policies that will inform development until 2050. Policies within this framework will become benchmarks for all planning decisions once NPF4 is introduced. The key questions asked by the government in a recent consultation were:

  • What development will we need to address climate change?

  • How can planning best support our quality of life, health and wellbeing in the future?

  • What does planning need to do to enable an economy that benefits everyone?

  • How can planning improve, protect and strengthen the special character of our places?

  • What infrastructure do we need to plan and build to realise our long term aspirations?

The responses echo many of the concerns our community have raised over the past decade. We do not yet know which of these proposals will be incorporated into the final framework but we should consider which of these are a good fit for Callander:

Resilience -The importance of land use to tackle climate change. Specifically, that land required for flood management should be safeguarded, development on floodplains should be discouraged or prevented and the benefits of natural flood management through nature-based solutions should be recognised.

Jobs and the economy – localising production of goods and services such as food production and localised energy production. The potential for job creation to support improvements to energy efficiency and retrofitting of the existing building stock were also highlighted.

Sustainable and active travel – a major shift in emphasis from road and cars to walking, cycling and public transport along with the provision of safe walking and cycling routes to new developments. Better networks of good quality footpaths and cycle paths, not only linking housing developments with town centres but also connecting to longer distance paths and cycle routes. Improved public transport is key to reduce car use and associated carbon emissions and services need to be better quality and better integrated

Circular economy – enhancing, repurposing, or maintaining existing infrastructure and re-use of existing buildings. Unlocking the potential of vacant or derelict land, protecting greenbelts, creating and preserving green spaces.

Design and energy efficiency of buildings – reduction of greenhouse gas emissions over a budling’s lifetime needs to be top of the hierarchy of factors in the planning permission decision making process. Retrofitting existing buildings with energy efficiency measures.

Climate change friendly places in the future – Active travel would be the norm and would be supported by investment in safe, well-placed walking or cycling routes that connect with public transport options. Localised services would allow people to access much of what they need closer to home. A diverse range of local businesses would support inclusivity and community wealth building.

Where we might want to live in 2050 – placing a greater emphasis on community priorities through effective consultation. The aspiration should be that Scotland is made up of communities with a good balance of affordable and high-quality housing options that meet the needs of people at all stages of life. Other types of facilities or services, such as local hubs with office space shops, safe play spaces and sports facilities will also be important. Wherever possible, new homes should be built within the existing boundaries of towns and villages to allow easy access to existing community facilities. The quality and design of new homes should be important, allowing them to be accessible and built to lifetime homes standards.

Improving, protecting, and strengthening the special character of our places - calls for greater protection for Scotland’s most important wildlife sites and for ancient woodlands. It was suggested many of the landscapes most valued by local people in rural Scotland are designated as Local Landscape Areas or Special Landscape Areas, and that these should be given strong protection from damaging development. The potentially negative impact of high volumes of tourism was also highlighted and it was argued that the infrastructure to support tourism should be prioritised.

Read the full report here.