JUST DAYS AFTER Scottish Government plans to speed up planning applications were widely welcomed in Moray a report has revealed a significant fall in the time taken for approval of major developments over the last year.
Statistical data published by Holyrood yesterday shows that the decision time for local and major applications has reduced – which has meant that more housing and businesses developments have been able to start sooner.
The report also reveals that in terms of time taken to consider applications, Moray is one of the best performing local authorities in Scotland.
While Planning Minister Kevin Stewart MSP welcomed the improvement he warned that more still needs to be done to improve the planning systems.
The data shows that the average decision time for major developments in the last year reduced by more than six weeks. Decisions on local housing applications fell by a week.
Locally, Moray made 718 planning decisions over the year, with an average decision time of 7.2 weeks – more than two weeks lower than the national average.
Moray Council’s planners also boasted a high percentage of applications that were decided in under two months – at 94.6% the region was second only to North Ayrshire’s 98.7%.
Mr Stewart said: “Effective planning is crucial to promoting sustainable economic growth and ultimately to helping build more homes. Speeding up the planning system is a vital part of this.
“These statistics are very encouraging, particularly at a time where we are looking at the best ways to reform and improve our planning system. The reduction in decision making timescales can only be a good thing – it means we are open for business and helping create certainty within the building sector.
“It is clear many authorities have worked hard to achieve these improvements and these results form a strong base from which to move forward with planning reform.
“We have just announced 10 immediate actions we will take to help deliver more homes and businesses through an improved planning system. This includes extending permitted development rights, meaning local authorities will have fewer minor applications to deal with.
“These changes will allow them to ensure they are able to allocate the resources needed to focus on dealing with larger more complex developments.”