MP backs radical planning reform to “protect communities”

A Fife MP is calling on the Scottish Government to back amendments which would put an end to communities being placed under siege by developers. 
Lesley Laird, who supported Aberdour campaigners in multiple bids to block large-scale housing developments in the village, claimed Planning Bill reform was urgently needed.
Amendments to the Government’s Bill, which give communities a right of appeal, are to be lodged by Scottish Labour in Holyrood.
Lesley said: “Aberdour’s long-running campaigns against Cala and Campion Homes are classic cases in point as to why this reform is urgently needed. 
“We desperately need a fairer planning system which gives communities a right of appeal in controversial planning decisions.
“Developers know planning rules are heavily weighted in their favour; that communities have zero rights.
“It simply motivates them to not take no for answer; to come back time and time again, despite the fact that this locks residents into a war of attrition.”
In July, West Planning Committee rejected two major housing developments in Aberdour.
The plans, lodged by Cala and Campion Homes, attracted more than 1500 objections from local residents.
An appeal has since been lodged by Campion to build 80 houses at nether Bouprie Farm and will be assessed by the Scottish Government Reporter.
“Both developers had planning proposals knocked by the Scottish Reporter previously,“ said Lesley.
“Communities had no say in the matter then, and won’t have a say as Campion’s appeal lands on the Reporter’s desk yet again.
“This merry-go-round has to stop and the only fair means of doing that is to give power back to communities,” said Lesley.
“I’m urging the Scottish Government to take the opportunity to fix this democratic deficit and support Labour’s amendments which will rebalance the planning process.”