The Scottish Government has just published its new statement on how planners should help meet the government’s target of 35,000 new homes per year by the middle of the next decade – the revised SPP3 (Scottish Planning Policy 3).
Lots of good material in there, much of which links with other government policy and advice:
The need to provide a more generous supply of housing, within settlements if possible.
Improving design quality and placemaking.
Delivering low carbon development.
Greater clarity on affordable housing targets for new developments, by enshrining a benchmark in policy (see paragraph 94 on this webpage) rather than merely guidance – a benchmark figure that all new housing sites should contribute of 25% of the total number of all housing units as affordable housing.
But, aside from the promise of the new development planning and development management regulations, there’s precious little advice to help local authority planners navigate through some of the practical issues raised by these laudable requirements. Where is the support for local authorities who have to allocate greenfield land for housing to meet the government’s housing target whilst also fostering greater community engagement, for example?
Perhaps most critical of all: on the fundamental issue of how we can build towards the 35,000 homes/year target while mortgages are drying up and housebuilders are stopping work on sites – there is nothing new.
It might be unrealistic to expect a national planning policy statement to respond to to what may be a shortlived credit crunch. But surely some reference in the news release to further measures beyond those announced in June would give us confidence that strategic steps are being considered at the government level too ?