Under consideration PE2075: Prioritise local participation in planning decisions
Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to prioritise local participation in planning decisions affecting their area by:
providing a clear and unambiguous definition of the word "local" insofar as it applies to planning legislation
giving decision-making powers to community councils for planning applications in their local areas
ensuring that the way in which decisions on planning applications are taken is compatible with the provisions and ethos of the Community Empowerment Act 2015.
Previous action taken
In 2018, we wrote to Argyll & Bute Council requesting a review of its Planning Committee, but no action resulted.
In 2021, we submitted a Community Participation Request to Argyll & Bute Council. This led to a meeting and exchange of emails with the Council's chief executive and an executive director, however, no change resulted.
In 2022 we wrote to and received an email of support from Jackie Baillie MSP.
Due to Argyll & Bute being a large and sparsely populated area, the Council has 4 Area Committees for localised decision-making, however, the Planning Committee has councillors from all 4 of these areas.
In recent years, 3 controversial Helensburgh planning applications have been decided by the Planning Committee. All 3 were opposed by Helensburgh Community Council and by the majority of Helensburgh and Lomond Area councillors serving on the Planning Committee. Nevertheless, they were passed by a majority of councillors from other areas, none of whom could be considered truly local.
In our discussions with the chief executive and executive director of the Council, our proposals were dismissed because of the "quasi-judicial" nature of the planning process.
Helensburgh Community Council feels that our role as a statutory consultee has in practice been a statutory right to be ignored – contrary to the Community Empowerment Act. Hence the need for this petition.