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Scotland's new planning minister Sarah Boyack has called for greater community involvement and an improved service ...
Scotland's new planning minister Sarah Boyack has called for greater community involvement and an improved service to the public for the planning system in Scotland.

Addressing a planning seminar in Peebles, the minister made five key points:

'We should continue to ensure that planning makes a positive input to development, regeneration and conservation in Scotland.

We should strive for good quality in all that we do.

We all need greatly to improve our service to the public.

We should encourage corporate working and collective responsibility for development planning.

We need to encourage even greater community involvement in the process.

Ms Boyack continued: 'This government is committed to putting sustainable development at the heart of policy-making and I am very pleased that it is firmly embedded in my job description.

'We are all aware of development that has not proved to be sustainable, but we are also aware of more positive achievements of planning; particularly where buildings and land have been re-cycled for new uses. Planners have an important role in ensuring that their development plans deliver more opportunities of this kind so that our environment is improved and our natural heritage enhanced.

'This is an extremely valuable time for me in terms of fact-finding, making contacts, developing the connections between my different areas of responsibility and - most important of all - listening.

'There is an important point I want to stress to Scottish planners; it is not just new ministers who face new challenges - we all do, for we are all concerned with the current and future well-being of Scotland. You will not be surprised when I say that I believe that planning has a key role to play in making Scotland an even better place in which to live, work and play.

'However, a key role does not mean an exclusive role. No single discipline can assume the responsibility for promoting, managing and implementing change. So-called single-sector solutions are now rightly seen as a thing of the past. Today consideration has to be given to economic, social and physical factors if future strategies are to be viable and future development proposals are to be sustainable.

'All of us are having to address more and more cross cutting issues. This involves greater corporate working with much more collective responsibility for strategy formulation and decision-making. This is a significant challenge and one which I know many of you are already pursuing with vigour.

'The quest for quality should be a guiding light in all that we do and we must aim to achieve more in the weeks and months ahead.'

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