Argyll and Bute Council’s open for business approach to development has been endorsed by the Scottish Government in its feedback on this year’s planning performance framework, with particular praise for the certainty that the council offers developers, the positive approach to partnership working and the strong commitment to customer care.
The planning performance framework is the annual performance scorecard that all local authorities must submit to the government for review. This document is reviewed by an independent consultant and then considered by the minister responsible for planning, Alex Neil MSP.
Policy lead for planning, Councillor David Kinniburgh, said of the positive feedback: ‘’We are delighted with this feedback which shows, once again, that we are one of the top performing planning authorities in the country, with a real focus on working with developers to achieve sustainable economic growth.
‘’Mr Neil highlighted the fast turnaround times across all planning categories, with the average time taken to decide applications being well under the national average, meaning projects can progress much faster. He also commended our partnership approach, where the council’s planning officers work closely with applicants, providing them with high quality professional advice at each stage of the planning process.
‘’It’s encouraging to have our planning practices recognised and endorsed at government level; this gives developers the reassurance that our methods are sound and that we’re proactive in our approach. The overall focus of the council’s planning service is on making things happen, supporting sustainable economic growth and regeneration.
‘’Despite the feedback being entirely positive and not indicating any red or immediate improvement actions we will continue our work to improve the service we offer our customers and support development throughout the council area. Argyll and Bute Council is focused on job creation and bringing economically active people to our area; our open for business approach to planning is a key aspect of our overall strategy.’’
Leader of the council, Councillor Dick Walsh, was pleased with the feedback, saying: ‘’I warmly welcome the positive reaction of the Scottish Government to the excellent work of our planning service. Following the recent national government endorsement of our local development plan, the key policy document for development, our practices have now also been recognised. I am happy to see that the hard work and professionalism of our staff has been acknowledged at a national level.
‘’As one of the best performing planning authorities in the country we are well placed to support development and work with our partners in the private sector to drive forward positive economic change in Argyll and Bute.
‘’I would encourage anyone thinking about developing in the area to get in touch with our planning service, who will be happy to provide advice and support. Ensuring development that benefits all is about communities and planners working together.’’