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GOVERNMENT REWARDS SCOTLAND'S TOP PLANNERS

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Sarah Boyack has rewarded Scotland's planners for the quality of their work when she announced the winners of the 1...
Sarah Boyack has rewarded Scotland's planners for the quality of their work when she announced the winners of the 1999 Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning.

The minister for transport and the environment presented the awards and commendations to the winners during a ceremony at the City Chambers in Edinburgh. Seventeen certificates were presented across three categories: development control; development planning; and development on the ground.

Sarah Boyack said:

'Planning affects everyone in one way or another and it is important that planners and others strive to produce high quality decisions and outcomes. What we recognise as 'quality' today should become the norm tomorrow.

'Quality goes hand in hand with speed of decisions. We aim to make Scotland's planning system more effective and efficient and I can announce today a reduction in the target for the Scottish executive in approving structure plans and in the full range of targets for appeals and other cases handled by the Inquiry Reporters Unit. In the interests of openness and accountability the performance of the Scottish executive on planning matters will be published regularly.'

In light of growing interest in the Quality Awards, the minister confirmed that there will be a 2000 Award scheme which will be run along similar lines to the 1999 Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning.

Those receiving awards and commendations today were:

Development Control

Award to The Highland Council for 'Highland Archaeology Week'

Commendation to Angus Council for 'Emphasis on Customer Care'

Commendation to Orkney Islands Council for 'Orkney's Approach to Rural Housing'

Commendation to Argyll & Bute Council for Argyll & Bute's local Planning Design Award scheme

Development Planning

Award to The Highland Council for 'Highland Structure Plan Youth Forum'

Award to Dumfries & Galloway Biodiversity Partnership for 'Dumfries & Galloway Local Biodiversity Action Plan'

Commendation to Ayrshire Joint Structure Plan Committee for 'Ayrshire Joint Structure Plan'

Commendation to South Lanarkshire Council for 'Best Value Initiative For Local Planning'

Commendation to Aberdeen City Council for 'Aberdeen Transportation Strategy'

Commendation to Dundee City Partnership and Ironside Farrar Ltd for 'Dundee Ambassador Routes Design Guide'

Commendation to Scottish Natural Heritage and participants for 'National Programme of Landscape Character Assessment'

Development on the Ground

Special Award to South Lanarkshire Council and New Lanark Conservation Trust for 'New Lanark Mill Hotel'

Award to The Dunbar Initiative for 'The Dunbar Initiative Project'

Award to Lerwick Town Centre Management Group for 'Lerwick Town Centre Environmental Improvements'

Award to South Lanarkshire Council for 'Hamilton Town Square'

Commendation to The River Almond Forum for 'River Almond Catchment Management Plan'

Commendation to South Lanarkshire Council for 'Biggar Town Centre Project'

BACKGROUND

1 Local authorities have the main responsibility for operating the planning system in Scotland. They deal with applications for development under the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997, and prepare development plans that provide the policy context for their decisions.

2 The Scottish Awards scheme for Quality in Planning was first launched in August 1997. In 1997 17 nominations were received and there were 7 winners. The 1998 Awards scheme was launched in August 1998 and attracted 37 entries from across Scotland; there were fourteen winners. The 1999 Awards scheme was launched on 7 September 1999 and it attracted 47 entries. Today, 17 winners are to be rewarded. The scheme has attracted over 100 entries in the 3 years that it has been running. On all three occasions the scheme has been managed by, and run in association with, the Royal Town Planning Institute.

3 The three judges of the 1999 Awards scheme were: Gordon L Mann, Managing Director of Chrichton Development Company Ltd (and formerly Director of Planning at Dumfries & Galloway Regional Council) Andrew Raven, Chairman of the Deer Commission for Scotland and formerly of the John Muir Trust and the Scottish Consumer Council; and Claire Woodward-Nutt of the Strathclyde Passenger Transport Executive (and formerly a Planner at North Lanarkshire Council).

4. The judges' report can be viewed on the Scottish Executive website at www.scotland.gov.uk/planning/awards/htpm

5. The Scottish Executive works to a target of 12 months for approving structure plans and this is being reduced to 42 weeks. The Scottish Executive Inquiry Reporter's Unit works to a range of targets from 20 weeks for advertisement appeals, up to 48 weeks for planning permission and planning enforcement appeals dealt with by public inquiry. All targets are to be reduced as shown.

Results of planning permission by written submission will be reduced from a 25 week time-scale to 23 weeks, planning permission from public inquiry reduced by six weeks to 42 weeks, planning enforcement written submissions reduced by four weeks to 28 weeks, planning enforcement by public inquiry from 48 to 42 weeks, and advertisement appeals by written submission should be reduced by one-week to 19 weeks.

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