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Communications Index | Press releases | Scotland inUNISON | Campaigns


Date: 29 June 2005

UNISON - broad welcome to planning proposals

UNISON, the union that represents Scotland's local council planning staff, broadly welcomed the proposals in the government's white paper released today.

However the union said that there may be concerns about the detailed proposals - if they led to central government officials overruling local democracy. In addition the union called for the resource requirements of the white paper to be recognised and more money made available for local councils to implement the proposed legislation.

Dave Watson, UNISON's Scottish Organiser for Policy said, "We welcome the recognition of the central role of planning and the move to increase meaningful public involvement in this white paper. We can also support the National Planning Framework so long as it is a genuine framework and not an attempt to undermine local democracy.

"But we need to look in detail at procedures proposed to determine the categories of developments. The test is - do these procedures allow applicants - often big business - to ride roughshod over local democracy and alienate local people?"

"The Executive are not supporting third party right of appeal and UNISON would agree with that approach, although we would limit applicants appeal rights as well. Having civil servants overruling local elected councillors is also wrong. There appears to be some recognition of this, but only for local - not larger commercial - developments."

The summary concedes that the proposed changes will place significant demands on planning authorities.

Dave says "Neighbour notification, more hearings, pre-application consultation and broader public involvement all have significant resource requirements on already stretched planning departments. Given that local government have not benefited from significant increases in government funding in the planned budgets, we would urge the resources to be made available. Without them the white paper cannot be implemented."


For Further Information please contact: Dave Watson (Scottish Organiser) 07787 558 410(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) 07715 583 729(m)