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mediation of space • making of place

No 135 : June 2010

Scottishplanner Journal of the RTPI in Scotland

Celebrating Planning: 80 years of the RTPI Scottish Branch Following that decision, the first AGM of the Scottish Branch was held on Friday 2 May 1930 in the ‘Hatrack Building’, 144 St Vincent Street, Glasgow, and Sir W.E. Whyte became the first Chairman of the Scottish Branch. The Scottish Branch grew steadily from these early beginnings and in 2000 the RTPI’s Scottish Executive Committee was established to lead the Institute’s work in Scotland.

Parliamentary Reception 19 May 2010

RTPI President Ann Skippers, Minister Stewart Stevenson MSP, RTPI in Scotland Director Veronica Burbridge and RTPI in Scotland's Scottish Executive Committee Convener Ian Angus at RTPI in Scotland's 80th anniversary Parliamentary reception. © picture courtesy of Charles Strang

This year the RTPI Scottish Branch celebrates its 80th anniversary and to mark this event Roger Kelly, RTPI in Scotland’s Convener 2008, has put together a history and exhibition of Scotland’s Planning Legacy. It looks at forerunners like Craig, Owen, Loudon and Scott, traces the development of the profession since the early days of founders Patrick Geddes and Thomas Adams and then reminds us of some of the key events, projects and people for each half-decade from 1930 to the present day. The exhibition can be seen and downloaded at The RTPI was founded in 1914 and in1928 Sir W.E. Whyte OBE argued for a separate Branch to be established in Scotland: “with the different system of land tenure obtaining here as compared to England, the separate legislation affecting the country and the many problems of local and national character which confront Scotland, it would be in the interest of the Institute to form

a Scottish Branch… Such a Branch would be able to discuss all matters affecting Scottish development and present to the Institute joint and considered recommendations with regard to procedure for the Institute (in) their undoubted position as the authority best qualified to deal with all questions of town planning in this country…”

Thanks to our sponsors:

Roger Kelly’s exhibition was launched at a Parliamentary Reception to mark the 80th anniversary. The event was kindly hosted by Ms Sarah Boyack MSP and was a time to remember links between the Institute and the Boyack family. Before becoming a MSP, and for a time Planning Minister, Sarah Boyack worked as a planner and was a planning lecturer at ECA Heriot-Watt from 1992 to 1997. She convened the Scottish Branch in 1997 and admits to still reading Scottishplanner. Sarah’s father, Jim Boyack, was Senior Vice-Convener of the Scottish Branch of the RTPI at the time of his death in August 1990. In gratitude for his life and distinguished work, the Jim Boyack Memorial Trust was set up and continues to make a contribution to the training and experience of those seeking a career in planning through an annual bursary to a student at a Scottish planning school.

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JUNE 2010



It was a great pleasure to welcome RTPI’s President Ann Skippers to Scotland. I am very grateful to everyone who helped to organise this very successful visit. Special thanks go to John Walls and the West of Scotland Chapter, to Gordon Watson and his staff at Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, and to Ian Manson and Audrey Carlin at Clyde Gateway for their kind hospitality. The article on the front page gives you a flavour of the very enjoyable Parliamentary reception, kindly sponsored by Sarah Boyack MSP, to mark the 80th Anniversary of the Scottish Branch. I’m only sorry that we could not invite you all to this event! Roger Kelly’s excellent exhibition Scotland’s Planning Legacy was launched at the reception and has been viewed by the East of Scotland Chapter members. Roger is seeking additional materials for further celebration in 2014 when the Institute will reach its centenary. If you have materials that you would like to contribute or people and plans that you think deserve special mention, please let us know. This edition of Scottish Planner focuses on Town Centres and Retailing. I hope you find the articles of interest and of help in dealing with the challenges that lie ahead. As ever, we are extremely grateful to Biggart Baillie LLP and Halcrow for their sponsorship of the Scottish Planner; and for the support of our advertisers. Veronica Burbridge Editor

Scottishplanner is the Journal of the Royal Town Planning Institute in Scotland, and is distributed free by direct mail to all Members in Scotland. It is also available on the web at

contents 06



03 Convener’s Comments

Update 04 Celebrating Planning: 80 years of the RTPI Scottish Branch … continued from front cover 05 A View from Scottish Enterprise – Peter Noad 06 Planning Reform: Now out for consultation – Annmaree Wood 07 Planning Reform: Making Sense of Neighbour Notification – Nancy Jamieson and Joan Walker

Focus on Town Centres and Retailing 08 09 10 11 12

Creating certainty in uncertain times – Chris Miller Reviving Scotland’s Small Towns – Ian Lindley Town Centres as Social Places – Diarmaid Lawlor and Eric Dawson Dragging a Building into the 21st Century – Neil Grieve Retail strategy: taking a fresh approach – Stefano Smith and Iain Paton 13 Is the future for retail in town centres really over? – Gordon McCorkindale

Views and News 14 Design Codes: following the spirit rather than the letter – Emma Rigg 15 Designed Landscapes: protecting, preserving and enhancing – John Mayhew 16 News and Events 18 Policy Briefing 20 Directory

Scottishplanner Sponsors

Editor Veronica Burbridge Production James Henderson Potential articles and photographs are welcome. The Editor reserves the right to amend articles as necessary. Enquiries to: the Editor, Scottishplanner, RTPI in Scotland, 57 Melville St, Edinburgh, EH3 7HL Tel: 0131 226 1959; email: The opinions stated are the contributors’ own unless otherwise stated. The RTPI is not responsible for statements made or views expressed in this journal. ISSN 1353-9795 Registered office: Royal Town Planning Institute, 41 Botolph Lane, London EC3R 8DL Scottish Charity No. SC037841 Registered Charity No. 262865 Scottishplanner is printed on Era Silk recycled paper. Design, production and advertising by Thinktastic Tel 0131 554 2807


From pre-application right up to any appeal, our highly-focused, partner-led team advises on all aspects of planning. Specifically, our experience covers housing, business, retail, leisure, industry, transport, waste, energy and minerals, as well as natural and built heritage matters. We act for developers, local authorities and any other party involved in planning matters. At Biggart Baillie we pride ourselves on seeing the planning and related issues in the round. For further information, please visit

Sustaining and improving the quality of people’s lives. We believe in making places work through our unique collaborative approach to planning, design, transport and development. We take proposals and projects from inception to successful implementation. Our skills are equally important to small-scale commissions as to major masterplanning and infrastructure projects. For further information, please view

Convener’s Comments Spring has seen events celebrating the heritage of eighty years of the RTPI in Scotland; the Geddes Commemorative Lecture; an international conference on planning research; and a meeting of the European Council of Spatial Planners (ECTP) in Edinburgh. RTPI in Scotland 80th Anniversary It was fitting that the Parliamentary reception celebrating eighty years of the RTPI in Scotland was hosted by Sarah Boyack MSP, a champion of planning with many connections with the RTPI. Ann Skippers, President of the RPTI, and Stewart Stevenson, Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change, offered their congratulations at the event. The Minister also revealed that one of his forebears hosted the gathering of planners in 1929 in Edinburgh that led to the setting up of the RTPI in Scotland. As there were also key meetings a few months later in Glasgow, perhaps we should see this as an early example of effective collaboration? The reception celebrated the contributions of planners across Scotland and across the generations, and highlighted the connections among the ‘planning family’ in Scotland.

Contributing to planning in Scotland and the UK Planners in 1929-30 recognised that “with the different system of land tenure obtaining here as compared to England, the separate legislation affecting the country and the many problems of local and national character which confront Scotland, it would be in the interest of the Institute to form a Scottish Branch”.

The UK Government’s recent proposals for the reform of planning in England draw attention to the evolution of systems in different parts of the UK. Who could argue with the principles of localism or ‘the Big Society’? The issues emerge when we look at how these might be expressed in practice. The RTPI has already expressed its concerns about the proposed removal of strategic planning at a regional level in England. As structures and processes evolve across the nations of the UK, the need for an effective professional body for planners in Scotland is, if anything, greater. The opportunities for us all to benefit from sharing knowledge and experience are greater than ever. Everyone involved in planning in Scotland can contribute to ensuring that the RTPI and sister bodies make the most of these opportunities.

Committing to sharing knowledge Events such as the Geddes Lecture, hosted by the RTPI and the Sir Patrick Geddes Memorial Trust, play a key role in sharing knowledge. This year’s lecture by Peter Head on The Dawn of the Ecological Age combined the visionary with the practical, and emphasised again the need to integrate a wide range of disciplines to create more sustainable places. This lecture was the best attended in the series to date, and the audience included

planners, architects, landscape architects and a wide range of others with interests in planning. When such an event attracts such an audience, I think that we can be optimistic about a renaissance in planning in Scotland. An excellent RTPI in Scotland exhibition tracing the history of planning in Scotland was launched at the Parliamentary reception. The exhibition also celebrates the Scottish planners who were so instrumental in establishing planning internationally. The sense of an ‘extended family of Scottish planners’ and a tradition of promoting good planning at home and abroad runs through the exhibition. This is sustained today by planners across Scotland going beyond ‘the day job’, for instance through roles with the RTPI and other networks; sharing experience and making connections through local chapters; and volunteering with Planning Aid for Scotland and international networks such as ECTP. Many of these roles help us to share knowledge about planning. As we all know, “knowledge is power” and “power is like muck – no good unless it be spread”.

Ian Angus MRTPI Convener, RTPI in Scotland’s Scottish Executive Committee


JUNE 2010

Scottishplanner : UPDATE

Celebrating Planning: 80 years of the RTPI Scottish Branch … continued from page 1 Planning in Scotland is very much a ‘family affair.’ Stewart Stevenson MSP, the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change who addressed us at the celebrations, was delighted to discover the role played by his greatuncle Sir Alexander Stevenson in the establishment of the RTPI Scottish Branch. Sir Alexander, as Provost of Edinburgh, hosted the Institute’s visit to the city in 1928 when it was decided to set up a permanent Scottish Branch. We were very pleased that Ann Skippers, RTPI President, was able to join us at the reception. In her speech, Ann said: “Scotland has a proud history of town planning; from Edinburgh’s New Town to the pioneering vision of New Lanark and more recently the regeneration of the Gorbals. It is the birthplace of the widelyrecognised father of town planning, Sir Patrick Geddes, and his legacy lives on today in the range of innovative projects led by planners underway across Scotland. Eighty years ago the Scottish planning profession came together to found the Scottish branch of the Royal Town Planning Institute… Its members have shaped the fabric of Scotland’s built environment, culture and character over the past eighty years and I’m delighted to celebrate the achievements of the RTPI in Scotland, and to look forward to an exciting future.”

Scottish innovation and leadership Roger’s exhibition is a reminder of Scottish leadership in founding the profession around the world, in the development of strategic planning and in approaches to sustainable development. It notes the worldwide influence on thought and practice of great Scottish pioneers like Patrick Geddes, Thomas Adams, John Muir and Ian McHarg. Not so well known are some of the ‘local heroes’, and Roger is keen to uncover many more of these as we move towards the Institute’s centenary in 2014. The anniversary provides us with an opportunity to celebrate the work of others like Ebenezer MacRae who in the 1930s as City Architect for Edinburgh 04

Hatrack Building in Glasgow: venue for the first AGM of the RTPI’s Scottish Branch, held on Friday 2 May 1930 © image courtesy of DRS Graphics.

combined the local vernacular with the best of European building practice in a series of public housing projects that includes the Canongate. Another personality was Lanarkshire’s redoubtable Elizabeth Mitchell (1880 – 1980) who was known as ‘The Happy Town Planner’. Elizabeth was a keen advocate of new towns and small burgh expansions, and campaigned for a more strategic approach to Glasgow’s housing problems that would give proper attention to local open space, amenities and employment.

voice of Sir Robert Grieve, who was later awarded the RTPI Gold Medal. More recently, the 1970s saw the introduction of new strategic approaches to planning for North Sea oil and gas developments; initiatives by planners in the North-East like John Hutton and Jim Dinnes; the introduction of regional reports by Ronnie Cramond of the Scottish Office’s Development Department; and the leadership of Derek Lyddon who as Chief Planner introduced the forerunner of National Planning Guidance and Scottish Planning Policy.

Moving into the 1940s and 1950s brings the Clyde Valley Regional Plan and the influence of the leading professional

These are just a handful of examples. There is a planning heritage in Scotland of which we can be proud and which gives us inspiration, strength and lessons for the future. This anniversary is an opportunity to share experience and celebrate our distinctive identity, and in the words of RTPI President Ann Skippers, “look forward to an exciting future where spatial planners continue to shape Scotland’s development.” Veronica Burbridge, National Director, RTPI in Scotland

Ebenezer MacRae, City Architect for Edinburgh, combined the local vernacular with the best of European building practice in a series of public housing projects that include the Canongate. © picture courtesy of Charles Strang.

Follow the reports on RTPI in Scotland’s 80th Anniversary activities during 2010 via the homepage at

Dundee Waterfront: a sustainable collaboration project involving Scottish Enterprise and Dundee City Council © image courtesy of Dundee City Council

A View from Scottish Enterprise Peter Noad, Project Manager with Scottish Enterprise and Convener of the RTPI East of Scotland Chapter, considers the opportunities for Scottish Enterprise and the planning profession to work together and, in particular, support sustainable economic development. There are times in my career, whether as an economic development consultant or when working for Scottish Enterprise, when I have met planners who, unaware that I am a ‘fellow planner’, have given me the distinct impression that they think my only objective is that of promoting private sector development. Well in a way they are right for encouraging development is indeed what I am paid to do. Unfortunately, they miss out on the fact that it is actually possible to promote development that is truly sustainable – in economic, social and environmental terms – and that this can make a positive contribution to placemaking. As a town planner within an economic development agency, I would hope that my skill-set is such that I can help promote sustainable economic development that is as much about successful placemaking as successful economics. As an economic development professional, I hope my fellow planners will see the benefits, particularly during a period of financial constraint, of working with the public and private development sectors to ensure place development and economic development work hand-inhand. But where will Scottish Enterprise and the planning profession face each other?

Priorities and planning In the recently published Business Plan 2010-2013, Lena Wilson, Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise, states: “Our focus over the coming three years will be to concentrate on the best

economic development opportunities for Scotland that will help strengthen our competitiveness within the global economy.” Given the current economic situation that seems like a very sensible way forward, but how will Scottish Enterprise do that? The Business Plan suggests three ways: supporting globally-competitive companies; building globally-competitive sectors; and establishing a globally-competitive business environment. Whilst planners will come into contact directly and indirectly with Scottish Enterprise through all of these three priorities, it is in relation to the final one, particularly in the area of physical business infrastructure, that the agency will need to work most closely with public and private sector planners.

Infrastructure Scottish Enterprise’s investment in strategic infrastructure projects is intended to help Scotland’s key sectors grow faster and provide suitable accommodation for both indigenous companies and new inward investors. Scottish Enterprise will focus on projects which are of national or regional importance and which offer long-term and lasting returns for the Scottish economy. These include projects such as Energy Park (Fife), Energetica (Aberdeen City and Shire), Edinburgh BioQuarter and Dundee Waterfront. Scottish Enterprise also works collaboratively with local authorities and Scottish Government to deliver national regeneration priorities such as Urban Regeneration Companies in Clydebank,

Irvine, Inverclyde and the East End of Glasgow. These physical infrastructure projects will be high profile and very complex. There will therefore be considerable potential for Scottish Enterprise staff to come into contact and work with the planning profession both in terms of development planning and development management.

Sustainability One topic, in particular, that will bring economic development and planning professionals together in the future is their joint commitment to sustainability. Scottish Enterprise is positively engaged in developing processes that will ensure it makes its contribution to addressing climate change, and this means not only measuring the environmental impacts of its investment but also working proactively – pre-development – to minimise the impacts. Legislation is clearly a key issue in this regard, as is the increasing focus on whole-life costs by private sector developers, funders and users. I suspect that this is an area where economic development and planning need to work more closely. Scottish Enterprise is about sustainable economic development that includes distinctive placemaking and that requires collaborative working with the planning profession. The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Scottish Enterprise or the RTPI. 03 05

JUNE 2010

Scottishplanner : UPDATE - PLANNING REFORM

Now out for consultation Annmaree Wood, a planner with the Strategic Development Planning Authority for Edinburgh and South East Sctland (SESplan), outlines their approach to the development of and consultation on the SESPlan Main Issues Report, which will in turn inform their first Strategic Development Plan. A series of important questions is posed around the Preferred and Alternative approaches: these should help to focus the consultation on the scale and direction for development over the next 20 years, as well as on the services and infrastructure required to deliver that development. The consultation also seeks to address key issues that relate to sustainable development, climate change and the need to enhance the qualities of space and place.

Windvanes Š image courtesy of SESplan.

The first stage in generating a new strategic development plan (SDP) is the production of a main issues report (MIR) for public consultation. The MIR for South East Scotland is now available for consultation until 27 August 2010. The SDP is an essential building block in the forward planning system in Scotland and is intended to set out a vision statement as to a strategic development planning authority’s (SDPA) broad view on the future development of the area and its spatial strategy on future development and land use. The SDP considers the likely future population and household growth alongside economic aspirations and constraints to development.

Main Issues Report The MIR has been prepared by SESplan, the Edinburgh and South East Scotland SDPA, and its six partner authorities. There has also been considerable input from other stakeholders including the Scottish Government, key agencies and Homes for Scotland, as well as through the comments received during a consultation in Spring 2009. 06

Whilst Scotland, as with the remainder of the UK, is currently suffering from the consequences of the banking crisis, it is important that SESplan continues to look forward and provide a planning framework for future sustainable economic growth. This is particularly important for future national prosperity given the significance of the SESplan area’s economy to Scotland.

Context, key questions and delivery The MIR sets out the context and challenges in relation to the key areas of economy, population and households, transport and infrastructure, the environment, resources and climate change. It then suggests how these challenges might be met. Two future growth scenarios, the Preferred and the Alternative, are considered. The Preferred scenario recognises the substantial impact of the current recession on the Scottish economy and the development industry, at least in the short to medium term. The MIR also identifies eight strategic growth areas.

A crucial requirement for the MIR is to provide for continuity and ensure that the proposals already identified through the approved Structure Plans and related Local Plans are taken forward to delivery. In particular, the MIR recognises the key roles of the provision of infrastructure and appropriate mechanisms to ensure the delivery of this planned development.

Effective consultation The aim of the MIR is to be accessible to all those likely to wish to contribute to the plan process so that their representations can be meaningful. It is accompanied by two other consultation documents, a Monitoring Statement and an Interim Environmental Report, and supported by four Technical Notes and a draft Equalities and Human Rights Impact Assessment. The MIR includes 30 questions posed on matters such as the overall strategy; locations for future development; built and natural heritage; and climate change and renewables. Answers to these questions should help inform the next stage in the SDP process, the production of the Proposed Plan. The consultation material and supporting documents can be viewed at public libraries, exhibitions across the area, council planning receptions and via the SESplan website; SESplan is also on Facebook. Workshops are also being held with interest groups. Responses should be submitted by post or email by 27 August 2010; for information

© image courtesy of David Inverarity/City of Edinburgh Council.

Making Sense of Neighbour Notification Who should pay and how much? What if you can’t ‘find’ the neighbours? Nancy Jamieson, Group Leader, and Joan Walker, Process Manager, with City of Edinburgh Council tease out some of the dilemmas now facing planners. When Scottish Planning Authorities took over neighbour notification in August 2009 it was literally the culmination of years of debate on the subject. The proposal first appeared in the consultation document Getting Involved in Planning in 2001 and then again in the White Paper Your Place, Your Plan in 2003. In 2004, a Neighbour Notification Working Group was set up and its conclusions published in 2006. The 2006 Planning Act followed. Further consultation in January 2008 fleshed out the details and, finally, the Development Management Regulations later that year specified how the new system of neighbourhood notification should be operated. So, did we produce the perfect system after all that hard work? Were our concerns about implementation and resources justified?

Good in principle… On the one hand, it is recognised that giving planning authorities the role of carrying out neighbour notification is a good principle and that the basic process is reasonably straightforward and works well. Neighbours are only notified when we have a valid planning application with the correct description and so can make a more informed comment. However, there are some areas which are causing confusion and leading to different interpretations and lack of consistency between authorities. Here are a few examples: Firstly, there is the question of neighbouring land without premises

on which to serve notice. The legislation states that notices must be advertised. Fine, but what if the Council is the landowner? Or what if it is simply a shared piece of open space in a housing development? Do we really have to charge the applicant to put an advert in the paper? In Edinburgh, we take a commonsense approach and limit such adverts, but other authorities regularly advertise and charge the applicant.

Counting the cost What about the cost of neighbour notification? It is fair to say that councils signed up to the new responsibilities on the understanding that we would be properly resourced. In Edinburgh we estimated, as part of working group discussions, that it could cost around £80 per application: this takes into account staffing, ICT and administrative costs. However, the

…there are some areas which are causing confusion and leading to different interpretations and lack of consistency between authorities.

Secondly, there is the charging regime. This was not consulted upon and requires authorities to charge the actual cost of the advert, shared by all applicants. But what if there is only one application advertised? The applicant has to pay for the whole advert – quite costly. In Edinburgh, we have decided that a flat-rate fee is the only fair way that the system can be operated, and this is a view shared by many other authorities. Recovery of fees can also be a problem for some authorities, although in Edinburgh this is not the case as our flat rate is quite low at £50. And thirdly, there is the issue of returned letters. The Regulations are silent on this, but has the notification actually been served if the letters are returned? In Edinburgh, about 25 letters per week are returned; a familiar picture throughout Scotland. On the plus side, this has allowed us to update our corporate address gazetteer.

actual figure is likely to be nearer £37 per application as, due to the downturn in the volume of applications, we have been able to absorb the tasks within the current staffing structure. This may change in the future as we come out of recession.

In search of solutions The latest news is that the Government is setting up a short-life working party to sort out these outstanding issues. This is a welcome step, but we hope a fundamental problem is addressed: if local developments are truly local, why do we need to notify everyone within 20m of the site? Proportionality seems to be a theme of the new Regulations but does not seem to apply to neighbour notification. The jury is therefore out, but with a bit of tweaking hopefully the neighbour notification system can be fixed. 07

JUNE 2010


Creating certainty in uncertain times Chris Miller, a senior planner with planning consultancy DPP in Glasgow, looks to the role of development planning in stimulating retail development and with it consequent, wider economic benefits. Despite the recession having an enormous and detrimental impact upon the UK's development industry, one sector which has continued to buck this trend has been retail, particularly food retailing. Operators such as Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Aldi have all continued to seek planning permission for and construction of new retail development throughout Scotland, and in the process have contributed to keeping land deals moving and maintaining construction and property industry jobs.

The Fife Retail Capacity Study in particular is very specific in identifying retail capacity: not only directing how much food and non-food retailing floorspace there should be, and where, but also the type of goods. The TAYplan Retail Framework Study goes one step further and shows the available capacity broken down into areas such as city centre, district centres/local shops and out-of-centre, as well as specific retail parks. For example, capacity is identified within a prominent local retail park.

Throughout this difficult period the planning regime in Scotland has also undergone a massive overhaul, with further changes still filtering through as the Scottish Government tries to simplify the planning process and provide much needed life to a stalled property market. The new SPP has reinforced the importance that the Government places on retail and commercial development in contributing to "sustainable economic growth" and on significant new retail development being led by the development plan for the area.

Increasing developer confidence Such approaches are encouraging and are welcomed by developers, as it is often retail developments that act as catalysts for bringing forward other forms of development. For instance, retail developments can potentially bolster more substantial regeneration projects in areas where these have stalled as a result of the current economic climate. Providing some basis of certainty and an indication of

capacity can really assist retailers, developers and agents to target their efforts on the areas in which local authorities recognise there is a shortfall of retailing. It is anticipated that other planning authorities will be looking at retail capacity as they prepare their own LDPs and SDPs over the coming few years, and we hope that relevant authorities continue to identify potential development opportunities at an earlier, more strategic level as demonstrated by TAYplan and Fife Council. This approach can assist in creating a greater sense of certainty in the planning system in this tough economic climate, and thus contribute to the increased confidence of developers to invest from the outset in potential development opportunities. To learn more of DPP’s approach to retail and town centres contact For the Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) view: 02/03132605/8

Tayside and Fife retail studies This guidance is gradually being put into practice through the replacement of structure and local plans with strategic development plans (SDPs) and local development plans (LDPs). For example, TAYPlan Strategic Development Planning Authority (SDPA) and Fife Council are at an early stage in producing their respective replacement development plans, and have each published retail studies outlining the amount of retail development capacity available within their respective areas; these studies can then be used to inform future retail policies and allocations. Š Image courtesy of



Reviving Scotland’s Small Towns Decline is not inevitable, argues the Scottish Small Towns Group (STG). Here Ian Lindley, STG’s Chair and Director of Planning & Economic Development with Scottish Borders Council, explains the range of work the Group is undertaking to strengthen the hand of Scotland’s small towns. The STG was established in 2006 with support from COSLA to lead an evidence-based approach to highlighting the issues and challenges facing Scotland’s small towns; that is those with a population of less than 20,000.

cherished heritage and culture; but … it is questionable how long many of these valuable attributes can survive.

Scottish Executive research in 2006 recognised that small towns drive the rural economy. Scotland’s small towns contain around 30% and serve almost 50% of the nation’s population, and yet there is insufficient policy recognition given to them. In fact, the STG considers that the available Scottish policy and other support often compares poorly with practice in England and Wales; whilst this practice in turn often struggles in comparison with the best in Europe.

The STG argues that current change and decline in local services, facilities and retail on offer in many of the nation’s high streets are not inevitable. It draws together good practice from across the UK and has lobbied for changes on a wide range of issues including the UK VAT and Scottish Compulsory Purchase Order regimes; local authority powers to address defective buildings; time-series research on store-shift within town centres; rural revisions to the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation, community planning and engagement models; and on the need for an ongoing small towns funding instrument.

Advocacy for sustainable small towns

… the STG considers that the available policy and other support often compares poorly against practice in England and Wales; whilst this practice in turn often struggles in comparison with the best in Europe.

The STG meets quarterly, and has an open membership which currently involves up to 20 local authorities from remote rural to urban areas. It aims to seek greater recognition of the role, needs and potential of our small towns, and has worked to do this by producing a number of reports (see web-link below); meeting with Ministers; and engaging with Scottish Government, external agencies and like-minded bodies. Through this work together the Group can demonstrate that many small towns are good examples of sustainable communities and have a range of locally-accessible services and facilities, distinctive places, locally-active populations, and

Building and making the case

STG works with an ever-growing and active network to institute or directly undertake research, information-sharing and lobbying with a range of partners including the Scottish Government Towns and BIDS teams; the Scottish Centre for Regeneration Learning Network and External Advisory Group on Town Centres & High Streets; the Centre for Scottish Public Policy; Stirling University Institute for Retail Studies; the Scottish Retail Consortium; the Scottish Urban Regeneration Forum; the European network ECOVAST; the Association of Town Centre Management; and the Parliamentary Cross-Party Group on Town Centre Development. Speakers and attendees at Group meetings have also included the Development Trusts Association Scotland; the Federation of Small Businesses; the Scottish Family Business Association; and English Regional Development Agencies delivering the Renaissance and Market Towns initiatives. If your organisation would like to contact or participate in the Scottish Small Towns Group email Note: A new web page hosted by the convening authority Scottish Borders Council is under construction; meanwhile STG work can currently be found on index.html. This web-page includes links to three recent reports: Scotland’s Small Towns: Still breathing … but for how long? (2009); Small Towns Report: 2007-13 (2006); and Making Towns Count: Reviewing the Case for Scotland’s Small Towns (2009).

© Images courtesy of Charles Strang


JUNE 2010


Town Centres as Social Places With the aim of going beyond retailing alone, Diarmaid Lawlor and Eric Dawson of Architecture+Design Scotland, discuss how to make our town centres and high streets into places for people. In his introduction to The Story of Scotland’s Towns, Robert Naismith noted that the only constant in the evolution of towns is the process of continuous change; a process which “ultimately calls for the adaptation or recasting of the urban fabric.” This is a useful reference that encourages us to rethink our existing urban settlements in an age when the form and functionality of towns has changed dramatically.

Re-imagining our town centres Town centres are features of common everyday occurrence, yet their ordinariness is ‘special’. The quality of the experience they create impacts on everyone, and it can distinguish and set places apart. They deserve attention as their significance and meaning extends beyond the pragmatic. We need now to rethink the high street and what it means, and how it retains its role as a focus for community through supporting and promoting peopleactivity. In this context we need to ask whether a primary role of town centres is in relation to retailing or if there is another way to conceptualise these urban structures? A defining characteristic of town centres is complexity, and their structure embraces lots of small elements; a multiplicity of individual units, buildings and details. In small towns these structures are particularly important as they permit local entrepreneurs to set up viable 10

enterprises at the right scale for them. Opportunities exist to then move or scale up the business as appropriate over time. This helps to keep local services local and to provide opportunities for local income generation. It also fosters local pride as reflected in the appearance, upkeep and maintenance of the street and buildings.

Generating collective meaning The high street, then, is more than just a retail concept; it is about potential and opportunity, local life, meaning and significance. This is important in that the shifts in retailing scale, out-of-town competition and the dominance of multiples make it hard for local retail to survive. However, if we work with the idea of the town centre as a centre of collective meaning then it could provide opportunities for a variety of work, cultural, social and community facilities and activities. The presence of people would enable and support enterprise. Enhanced footfall would bolster existing and new activities, and strengthen the local economy. The high street could re-emerge as a strong structure by diversifying its concept beyond retail whilst retaining the opportunity for a strong, high quality, locally-based ‘retail offer’. Differentiation and quality are key. The town centre offers locations for experiences that still include, but extend beyond, retailing. It is a central gathering place to engage

De Strip (Westwijk, Vlaardingen, the Netherlands 2002-2004); Facade: Francois Xavier Guillon; Photo: courtesy of Jeroen Musch. An example of the creative re-use of vacant commercial units within the residential estate of Westwijk. After a superficial restoration of the shops, the space was transformed by artist Jeanne Van Heeswijk into a temporary, multi-functional artistic centre and community space, which could bring together local people and artists and support the community through a time of change. For more info, view and docs/examples/destrip/index.html

in life’s experiences: to grow up, congregate, linger, exchange ideas, celebrate and mourn. It is a social place.

Small actions Looking to the future, places will continue to evolve and adapt by utilising structures which are largely in place already. There is, therefore, considerable potential in the transformation and retrofitting of existing places. By enabling multiple small actions, successful places will make the best use of existing assets from which to grow new value from old. It is therefore important to think about how the urban fabric might adapt or be recast. Re-imagining and strengthening the modern concept of the town centre as a ‘people-place for our time’ will be key to the renaissance of our town centres. For more information view Architecture+ Design Scotland’s recent report and accompanying article on The Value of Resilient Places at 711_the-value-of-resilient-places


Dragging a Building into the 21st Century In May 2008 after twelve years of work, Gardyne’s Land in Dundee’s busy High Street opened as a backpacking hotel. The project has now been awarded a Scottish Award for Quality in Planning, a RTPI Heritage Award and the Heritage-Led Project of the Year Award from Regeneration and Renewal magazine. Neil Grieve, Lecturer at Dundee University and Chief Executive of the Tayside Building Preservation Trust, reflects on the importance of this project and the challenges involved.

It has conserved a fascinating layering of history along with traditional building styles and methods, and it has preserved a complex of buildings which were at risk by bringing them back into productive use.

Gardyne’s Land, from which the project took its name, is the only complete domestic building surviving from a time when Dundee was Scotland’s second city, around 1560. The project also included lodgings from c1640, a tenement of c1790, a billiard hall of c1820 and a Victorian retail outlet of c1865 - all of these are category A listed buildings. The changes over time to these buildings represent a superb essay in the morphology of the City, from its Renaissance past and trading links with the Baltic to its Victorian industrial history. The condition of the buildings in the latter half of the 20th century reflected the dip in the City’s fortunes and its new use can be seen as reflecting the City’s newly-emerging confidence.

The process of restoration By the early 1990s Gardyne's had become a cause of concern to the City Council, local amenity groups, the Dundee public and Historic Scotland. The size of the problem and the likely cost of solutions meant that the Council could not take on the task of restoration. In 1995 the Tayside Building Preservation Trust opened negotiations with the owners, the Prudential, and acquired the buildings in 1999. With the aid of grants from the Architectural Heritage Fund and Scottish Enterprise Tayside, along with capital realised from an earlier restoration project, the

Trust completed a major feasibility study in 1997. In 2002 the Trust secured an endowment which enabled urgent works to be undertaken, and in 2003 the project development work was completed. In April 2005, because of a problem with guarantors for European Funding, the project was handed over to Dundee City Council. With the Trust now acting in an advisory role, the Council finally let the contract in July 2005 and managed it through to successful completion in May 2008. Total project costs for the work were estimated at £4,143,448, while the District Valuer put a price of £385,000 on the finished hostel which left a huge conservation deficit. Identifying a suitable viable and sustainable end use was also difficult. However, completion of the hostel has provided a facility which Dundee lacked, and it now attracts additional visitors, in particular younger people, to the area. Its sustainable use will aid the economic regeneration of the city centre.

A range of achievements The project has been successful on several counts. It has conserved a fascinating layering of history along with traditional building styles and methods, and it has preserved a complex of buildings which were at risk by bringing them back into productive use. The project has attracted wide interest from the local community and now houses a room dedicated as a library and resource centre. Finally, it employed a novel approach by involving students from Dundee University’s postgraduate programme on European Urban Conservation, who made a very significant contribution and in return gained valuable practical experience.

Difficult times for Building Preservation Trusts This project ultimately represents an excellent example of partnership working. It is also clear that Building Preservation Trusts (BPTs), who between them have an excellent track record, can be the only hope for historic buildings such as Gardyne’s Land. However, in the current economic climate it is becoming increasingly difficult for BPTs to put together funding packages for projects and pay the wages of fulltime staff. When it comes to funding within the heritage sector, BPTs sit very low down in the food chain… for the sake of our built heritage it is essential that this situation is rectified sooner rather than later. © image courtesy of Simpson & Brown Architects


JUNE 2010


Retail strategy: taking a fresh approach The effect of the economic downturn on many sectors of the economy is well-known. By contrast, the retail sector is apparently buoyant. But is this really the case? And, how should we be planning for the future of retailing and town centres? Stefano Smith, Regional Development Director and Iain Paton, Senior Consultant at Halcrow Group, consider the value of a spatial and integrated approach. Although the retail sector has been relatively resilient, with a growth in sales volumes, this is mainly due to price reductions and the blurring of the distinction between food and nonfood retailing in large superstores. Other factors, such as labour market flexibility and low inflation to date, may have mitigated any squeeze on household expenditure. However, the high expenditure growth rates for discretionary expenditure in recent decades are unlikely to return as we face the prospect of a period of austerity. It is likely that constrained expenditure growth will be focused on existing centres and tied more closely to population growth. This places additional emphasis on the requirement to identify a network of retail centres; an emphasis at the heart of Scottish retail planning policy too. The context of the emerging strategic development plan system offers an exciting opportunity to look afresh at retail planning and at town centres which have been in decline for decades.

City centre and out-of-town? National retail policy is focused upon town centres and is now contained within the Scottish Planning Policy (SPP). However, recent years have 12

seen the massive growth of carserved retail parks to the detriment of traditional town centres. This was highlighted by the Glasgow Cumulative Retail Impact Study prepared by Halcrow Group for Glasgow City Council in October 2009. This study recognised that the global economic downturn, coupled with the success of out-of-town centres such as Silverburn and Glasgow Fort, are having a visibly negative effect on key streets within the City’s ‘Golden Z’ – namely Sauchiehall Street, Buchanan Street and Argyle Street. Sensing the threat to its status as a major European player in the retail destination league, Glasgow is to embark on a radical dual policy of curbing future developments outside the centre while robustly promoting those within it. The challenge will be to strike the appropriate balance between the role and demand for city centre and out-of-town shopping.

A spatial, integrated approach The strategic development plan system offers the opportunity to define a network and hierarchy of centres, including both town centres and those out-of-centre locations which can fulfil a strategic retail role and be made accessible to shoppers.

Other policy areas and key drivers of change must also be considered. A modal shift away from the private car is likely as fuel prices increase and should be encouraged as part of the sustainability agenda: retail centres must be accessible to existing and new populations by predominantly sustainable modes of travel. This requires integration across policy areas, linking forecasts and estimates of retail capacity with housing land assessments, transport proposals and strategic development and growth areas. A full audit of town centres in terms of their wider roles and functions will enable retail growth to be focused in the right places to meet future demand and to address existing deficiencies; and all within the overarching context of sustainable development. Town centres with a broad range of retail, leisure, cultural and community functions also have the potential to be more resilient in the face of economic uncertainty. The pendulum of change would appear to be moving away from car-based out-of-centre shopping, to re-focus on networks of sustainable, accessible and resilient town centres as the foundation upon which strategic spatial planning is to be built. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Halcrow Group. View the Scottish Planning (SPP) Policy at Publications/2010/02/03132605/8


Is the future for retail in town centres really over? … and if so what are the implications of this for the regeneration of town centres? How do you ensure effective community consultation? Do out-of-town retail developments help or hinder such regeneration? To facilitate discussion of these questions, and more, the RTPI Regeneration Network is setting up a Retail and Town Centre Regeneration Interest Group. In this article Gordon McCorkindale, an Interest Group member and Senior Regeneration Consultant with Dearle & Henderson, outlines his thinking on some of the issues.

Already we are seeing large retail developments, out-of and on-thefringe-of small towns, being struck at by visible and audible opposition from local people. It would seem that within village and small town development there is a return to the view that size is not everything.

It seems that there is an almost constant debate in relation to retail and its place in town centre development. In a rural context, surely, the community and the local shop or post office are undeniably linked, and the place of the local shop as a ‘fulcrum’ is established in social and economic language, as it is in folklore. When we turn to small town developments, the topic begins to become contaminated by some of the issues relating to out-of-town retail developments, and the extent to which these have impacted on the retail survival of town centres. Both of these are familiar topics throughout Scotland and the rest of the UK, and whilst different in scale they serve as a microcosm of the wider picture. Too often we hear that the future for retail in town centres is over. If that is truly the case then, I suggest, the future for town centres is also over. However, I do not subscribe to this view and believe that the future, while not all positive, is brighter than some would have us believe.

Integrating community views Already we are seeing large retail developments, out-of and on-the-fringe-of small towns, being struck at by visible and audible opposition from local people. It would seem that within village and small town development there is a return to the view that size is not everything. Consultation in relation to development planning has never been more important than now. In my own experience, when given the opportunity, community groups and individuals are a source of real and valuable opinions with regard to small- to medium-sized developments.

Retail and housing The emergence, perhaps as part of a regeneration programme, of new developments that combine retail and housing must be seriously considered as a means of re-inventing the traditions of the town centre and offering a combination of truly affordable housing located above ethicallyselected, sustainable shops and services. Surely this updated idea is the stuff of which safe, active and economically sound communities are made. Perhaps, as planning procedures are in the process of considerable change, we may see some significant recognition of the need for ‘inclusive thinking’ in town centre planning. The RTPI Regeneration Network’s Retail and Town Centre Regeneration Interest Group will act as a source of information and expertise, develop a webpage and organise discussions and study visits. New members of the Interest Group and Network are welcome; please contact or visit Network members receive a weekly email bulletin with topical regeneration news, get priority booking on the (free) Network study visits and discussions, and can work and communicate with other Network members within Interest Groups.



JUNE 2010

Scottishplanner : VIEWS AND NEWS

Design Codes: following the spirit rather than the letter Emma Rigg, a member of the RTPI Urban Design Network and a graduate planner from Heriot-Watt University, recently won a Sir Patrick Geddes Trust Award for her postgraduate dissertation on design codes. Drawing from her research, she argues that codes can promote good urban design but must not become overly-prescriptive.

architectural style through imitation. It offers an inadequate substitute for the skills of talented designers, and tends to become dense and totalitarian in nature, leading to a conflict of interest between urban design principles. By comparison, the code for Greendykes North provides little visual information about the final product: the intention was not to cover the nitty-gritty of architectural detail, but to define only those common elements considered essential for the collective identity of the public realm. Thus, the code promotes “contextual architecture … achieved in a contemporary way through a response to climate … [and] the use of locally sourced materials”.

Concrete or abstract?

From the Greendykes North Design Code © image courtesy of Cadell2 LLP

A design code is “An illustrated compendium of the necessary and optional design components of a particular development with instructions and advice about how these relate together in order to deliver a masterplan.” (from Preparing Design Codes: A Practice Manual. Department of Communities and Local Government, 2006). Their importance has re-emerged under the ‘New Urbanism’ banner, and the neo-traditional style allied to this movement has led to the assumption that to be effective codes must enforce a traditional aesthetic. However, experience in the Netherlands and elsewhere suggests that codes do not have to be intrinsically linked with the architectural determinism of New Urbanist practice in order to achieve good urban design.

Successful Places Designing Places (2001) identified six qualities of successful places: identity, safe and pleasant spaces, ease of movement, a sense of welcome, adaptability and good use of resources. A seventh, intangible quality, beauty was added too: “the natural product of the 14

patterns of human life and the skills of talented designers”. Taken together, a clear framework becomes apparent; one within which key urban design principles are accommodated. Narrowly prioritising any one principle to the detriment of others isolates it from the greater whole. Designing Places demonstrates that urban design transcends arguments about architecture to focus principally upon spaces between buildings. My research explores the extent to which these principles have been reflected within the design codes for different developments, including Tornagrain (Inverness) and Greendykes North (Edinburgh).

Design codes in action Tornagrain focuses on achieving a predetermined, stylistic vision by prescribing micro-details, as opposed to defining spatial characteristics of streets and spaces. For instance, the code states, “Gable ends shall have skewe detail with a minimum 10cm upstand … capped with a minimum 3cm thick stone…”. This approach fails to recognise that contextual integration does not require strict adherence to an

These examples of codes reveal two different regulatory climates: concrete and abstract. The concrete method, evident for Tornagrain, is less appropriate for promoting holistic design aspirations. Paradoxically, this non-discretionary approach provides development security but inhibits opportunities for architectural innovation. The proliferation of regulatory control through a multitude of constraints reduces design to a formula; one that conflicts with the approach of Designing Places, which suggests that “making the most of the opportunities is not a simple matter of checking them off a list”. Contrastingly, the abstract approach taken at Greendykes North appears to offer a more appropriate environment for creating successful places. Limiting the constraints has forced designers to move beyond minimum absolutes to meet the spirit of the code, rather than diluting their schemes to meet the letter. Greendykes gets to the essence of what a code should be concerned with. It demands a limited number of strict parameters relevant only to the quality of the public realm and performance of buildings; the parts are specified but the whole is indeterminate or emergent. To learn more about Emma’s research, contact View RTPI’s Urban Design Network at

Designed Landscapes: protecting, preserving and enhancing John Mayhew, Chartered Planner and Director of the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland, reflects on Scotland’s wealth of such landscapes and the responsibilities of planning authorities towards them. Scotland has inherited a rich variety of designed landscapes which make a significant contribution to the structure and form of the settled landscape of rural Scotland and constitute a major element of our natural and cultural heritage. These include such wonderful places as Armadale Castle on Skye, Culzean Castle and Country Park in Ayrshire, Drummond Castle Gardens in Perthshire and Inveraray Castle in Argyll. Most were originally designed to benefit a relatively small number of people, but many now give pleasure to thousands of visitors from home and abroad. Many have become Country Parks or National Trust for Scotland (NTS) properties; but most remain in private ownership although they may be open to the public on either a regular or an occasional basis. The access rights introduced by the 2003 Land Reform Act also mean that anyone can enjoy most of these special places as long as they behave responsibly.

A cultural resource ‘Designed landscape’ is something of a shorthand term that covers sites of widely varying landscape setting, size and history; some have evolved over centuries rather than being consciously designed by a single designer. They provide a wide range of public benefits including illustrating artistic talent; housing rare plant collections; providing historic and educational resources; reflecting environmental, social and economic change; nurturing habitats and wildlife; and supporting local economies. During the 1980s the then Countryside Commission for Scotland and Historic

Scotland (HS) collaborated on a major survey of nationally important sites to create the four-volume Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland. The Inventory is now searchable via the HS website and HS is working to update and extend it, although the work remains incomplete.

The role of planning authorities The new Scottish Planning Policy gives planning authorities a role in protecting, preserving and enhancing nationallyimportant sites (and their settings) included in the current Inventory, as well as those of regional and local importance. In particular, the effect of a proposed development on a garden or designed landscape is a material consideration in decisions on planning applications. Gardens and designed landscapes are currently afforded some statutory protection under the 2008 Development Management Regulations. These require planning authorities to consult Scottish Ministers over applications affecting a historic garden or designed landscape in the Inventory, and such applications need to be accompanied by a design statement. Several local authorities have taken initiatives to promote positive management and to identify further sites of regional or local importance.

Strengthening protection However, despite this partial protection, many of these important elements of our heritage are threatened by land use change; neglect or fragmentation of ownership; lack of funding; and inappropriate development proposals, either within the designed landscape

Pitmedden in Aberdeenshire © image courtesy National Trust for Scotland Photo Library

itself or its setting. For example, both Abbotsford in the Borders and Dunmore Park near Falkirk have been threatened by housing development in recent years, and a caravan storage yard has been constructed within the designed landscape at Pitmedden in Aberdeenshire despite objections from NTS. Partly in order to tackle these threats, the current Historic Environment (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill proposes to strengthen protection for designed landscapes by creating a duty for Scottish Ministers (through HS) to compile a statutory Inventory in place of the currently-incomplete, non-statutory version. If this goes ahead, it will be important for HS to ensure that the new Inventory properly assesses key views into and out from each site in order to aid planners and developers in protecting ‘borrowed’ landscape features beyond the immediate boundary, upon which many sites depend. Planning authorities keen to protect and enhance these valuable assets in their area should include relevant policies in local development plans and seek to ensure through development management that the significant elements justifying designation are protected and enhanced. For further information and advice view these resources: Garden History Society in Scotland: work-in-scotland Historic Scotland: Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland:


JUNE 2010

Scottishplanner : VIEWS AND NEWS

News and events RTPI News

Other News and Events

RTPI in Scotland 80th anniversary updates: follow anniversary activities, including recent reports from Grampian and East of Scotland Chapters, via our homepage

See the new website at and view their latest news, including the new mentoring scheme for community power, at news.asp

West of Scotland Chapter (WoS) Students Award Scheme Winning team members Nicholas Allan and Susanne Steer – third member Ralf Heckmann was absent. © image courtesy of University of Glasgow

On 4 May the WoS Chapter awarded the winning team from the Spatial Planning Module of the MSc Course in Real Estate, Planning and Regeneration at the University of Glagsow a prize of £100 and commemorative certificates. Two other teams received certificates of commendation for their projects: Ruth Fletcher, Graham Mitchell and Zach Young; and Michael Briggs, Julie McStay and Shona Strachan. The WoS Chapter panel were hard pressed to pick a shortlist for the winners and commendations because of the quality and hard work put into the projects. John Walls (Convenor), Iain Hynd (Vice Convenor) and James Spence Watson (Immediate Past Convenor) did the honours of presenting the Awards on the day and remained after the ceremony to share their opinions with the students along with a well deserved glass of wine. The Award Scheme is a collaboration between the University and the Chapter, and is designed to build bridges between academics, students and practicing planners in the West of Scotland, raise the RTPI’s profile and to encourage graduates to join the RTPI after their course. A parallel scheme is in place with the University of Strathclyde for later in the year.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) - Sharing Good Practice events programme … is an opportunity for practitioners with differing levels of experience to network, learn from experts, influence future policy, share ideas, gain new insights and inspiration. View the 2010 programme via Forthcoming events include: Siting and Designing Windfarms in the Landscape (11 Aug); Appropriate Assessment for Land Use Plans (31 Aug); and Considering Landscape in Development Planning (16 Sept). Improvement Service – training news The Planning Development Programme (PDP) is a government-funded initiative delivered by the Improvement Service (IS) that supports training and development for staff and elected members with planning responsibilities in the 34 Scottish planning authorities. Launched in April 2006, and running until March 2011, the PDP provides grant support for authorities and a range of training events to help tackle training and development needs. The level of interest and demand for the PDP’s events has prompted a further series of events in September, including: Principles and Practice of Effective Community Engagement; Designing Streets; Developer Contribution; Development Viability; Main Issues Reports; Managing and Leading change; Negotiation, Mediation and Influencing; Project Management and Processing of Planning Applications for Major Development; and Consultation. Other planned initiatives include: a workshop on Local Development Plan Examinations (with the DPEA); a one-day Workshop for Planning Enforcement Officers; and a Masterclass series for staff and elected members which will focus on the move to outcome-focused corporate and service planning at national and local level. Three planning authorities are taking part in a pilot programme introducing the Customer Service Professional Qualification, and workshops and materials are being developed on minerals, flood risk, SUDS, listed buildings, heat mapping, solar technology and climate change. IS will also compile a calendar of all training on offer to the planning community and, in conjunction with Scottish Government, COSLA and HOPS, the PDP is gathering evidence relating to improving planning performance and emerging good practice in order to develop case studies. For more information contact:

RTPI Events in Scotland For further information on the listings below or for the latest information on National and Chapter events in Scotland, go to and view in the left-hand column ‘Scottish Chapters’ and/or ‘RTPI national events in Scotland 2010’

‘Scottishplanner Extra’… on the web


The following articles and reports are available via the RTPI in Scotland Group web-pages – for RTPI Members only. To register and/or access view either (click on the green box, topleft) or

15: East of Scotland Chapter: Marine Renewables - venue tbc


28: Working Together to Create Healthy Environments – Living Streets Scotland with support from RTPI Scotland

16 8

• RTPI Transport Network article • Scottish Centre for Regeneration’s Town Centres and Local High Street Learning Network report • West of Scotland Chapter reports - John Walls • Scottish Planner Policy Pages (as a MS Word Doc)

Members News We would like to welcome the following Members in Scotland who have been elected to the Institute in the following categories of membership: Corporate Members (MRTPI): Alexander Beattie Damian Brennan Clare Bryceland Jet Cameron Laura Campbell Esme Clelland Jack Cook Joanne Crothers Meabhann Crowe Lesley Cuthbertson Erin Deeley Laura Dingwall Jane Dixon Natasha Douglas Lawrence Dowdall William Duncan David Dunlop Gavin Evans Paul Evans Claire Fowler Marion Frederiksen Stephanie Glen Stuart Green Jamie Hamilton Patrick Hanna Arlene Henderson-Knox Gordon Hodge Allison Hungate Taylor Marlaine Lavery Alexandria Lewis Alanna Lyle Rowena MacDougall Mairi MacKinnon David McDowell

Aberdeen City Council Angus Council Taylor Wimpey UK Ltd Halcrow Group Ltd SNH West Lothian Council Mackay Planning Perth & Kinross Council Halliday Fraser Munro Argyll & Bute Council North Lanarkshire Council Aberdeenshire Council Ironside Farrar Ltd Archial (Services) Plc City of Edinburgh Council William F. Duncan City of Edinburgh Council Aberdeen City Council Andrew McCafferty Associates Keppie Design Ltd Jacobs UK Ltd Argyll & Bute Council Argyll & Bute Council Barton Willmore Dumfries & Galloway Council Argyll & Bute Council Robert Potter & Partners GVA Grimley Ltd Taylor Wimpey UK Ltd Falkirk Council Aberdeenshire Council Bowlts Chartered Western Isles Council Dundee City Council

Scottish Government News Pros and Cons of the Modernised Planning System The Scottish Government’s series continues to highlight varied experiences as the new system settles in. Craig Adamson is a solicitor with HBJ Gateley Wareing. “Close scrutiny of the applicable scheme of delegation is essential when seeking to advise prospective applicants of the procedures which they will face as regards local developments. In this respect the Government’s web-page providing links to all such schemes of delegation is proving to be extremely useful.” View: For further personal contributions from planning consultants, local authority officers and agency officers - including full articles - visit: modernising /cc/Q/editmode/on/forceupdate/on

Robert McIntosh Daniel McLean Neil Mair Karen Maxted Laura Mitchell Iram Mohammed Jonathan Molloy Alison Morris Albert Muckley Tanya Murray Beatrice Nichol Christopher Ross Jamie Scott Emma Shirley Kirsty Slater Karen Stevenson Natalie Strongman Barbara Stuart Ian Tame Emma Taylor Alison Waite Stuart Walker Derek Walsh Peter Whelan Michael Wright Craig Wood Associate Members: Chris Fotheringham Peter Fraser Morag Goodfellow

Aberdeenshire Council Bryce Associates Ltd Aberdeenshire Council Glasgow City Council Network Rail Atkins Ltd Shetland Islands Council City of Edinburgh Council Ironside Farrar Ltd Dumfries & Galloway Council Scottish Borders Council Bell Ingram Aberdeenshire Council Keppie Design Ltd East Lothian Council City of Edinburgh Council Rapleys City of Edinburgh Council City of Edinburgh Council East Lothian Council Fife Council Faber Maunsell GVA Grimley North Lanarkshire Council City of Edinburgh Council

Aberdeenshire Council Highland Council

Legal Associate Members (LARTPI): Jessel Gair Biggart Baillie Technical Members (TechRTPI): Andrew Barrie

Argyll & Bute Council

Planning Update The Government held a Planning and Economic Recovery Summit on 15 June – as per the March update of the Economic Recovery Plan. The event was hosted by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth, and the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change chaired the discussion, with delegates from across the public and private sectors, on how planning can contribute to economic recovery. Key messages from the summit will be published over the summer. The latest in the Government’s series of Development Management Forums was held in June and brought together planning authorities, the development industry and community councils to consider statutory Pre-Application Consultation. Two sessions took place: the first being a workshop examining technical details around applications for planning permission limited to changes to planning conditions attached to a previous permissions (section 42 applications) and applications for planning permission for minor changes to previous permissions; the second looked at early experiences of pre-application consultation under the modernised system. Further information about all of the above is available via Roddy Macdonald, Head of the Planning Modernisation and Coordination Division


JUNE 2010


Policy briefing


I The Right Tree in the Right Place – Planning for Forestry and Woodlands Part 3 of this guidance replaces Planning Circular 9/1999 Published by the Forestry Commission Scotland and provides guidance to planning authorities on the multiple benefits that can be derived from well-planned and wellmanaged woodlands, and encourages them to prepare new forestry and woodland strategies to guide future woodland expansion. (05/10) I Scotland's Zero Waste Plan (09/06/10)

I What does the literature tell us about the social and economic impact of housing? Report to the Scottish Government: Communities Analytical Services A review. (03/06/10)

I Meeting Scotland's Zero Waste Targets: Assessing the Costs Associated with New

Waste Management Infrastructure Examines the costs to local authorities of meeting EC Landfill Directive and Scottish Government Zero Waste targets. (27/05/10)

I The Contribution of Housing, Planning and Regeneration Policies to Mixed Communities in Scotland This short study looked at whether and how housing, planning and regeneration policies in Scotland are contributing to ‘mixed communities’. In particular, it investigated the ways in which these policies are fostering neighbourhoods which have a mix of housing tenures, and are therefore likely to attract households with a range of incomes. (27/05/10)

I Learning for Change: Scotland's Action Plan for the Second Half of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (26/05/10) I Housing: Fresh Thinking, New Ideas This discussion document sets out the Scottish Government's vision for future housing policy. (24/05/10)

I Scottish Government Estate Environmental Performance: Annual Report 2008/09 (21/05/10) I The Saltire Prize Programme: Further Scottish Leasing Round (Saltire Prize projects) Scoping Study: Marine Scotland Science (21/05/10) I Poverty and Income Inequality in Scotland: 2008/09 Presents annual estimates used to measure progress towards UK and Scottish Government targets to reduce poverty and income inequality. (20/05/10) I Scottish House Condition Survey - Local Authority Report 2005-08 This report combines 3 years worth of data (2005/08) to provide a series of tables of estimates for key indicators important at local authority level. (20/05/10) I Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act Annual Report to Parliament 2009 The first annual report. (14/05/10)

CONSULTATIONS Current consultations to which the Institute may wish to respond are listed below. They can also be viewed on the Scottish Government website at Consultations/Current. To assist the Institute in preparing representative responses, Members are invited to contribute their views by post or email – see contact details on p2 of Scottishplanner – ideally no less than 14 days prior to the end of the consultation period. The Institute’s Scottish responses can be found at


I Long Leases (Scotland) Bill consultation and draft Bill Proposal to convert very long leases – leases over 175 years and with over 100 years left to run – into ownership. (30/06/10)

I Tree Preservation Orders To make amendments and update secondary legislation for the serving, varying and revoking of Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs). Whilst fitting into the wider modernisation agenda for planning, these


proposals are primarily aimed at making the system more efficient. (09/07/10) I Consultation on Planning Obligation and Good Neighbour Agreement Regulations 2010 Regulations required to implement provisions of the Planning etc (Scotland) 2006 Act. The provisions of the Act make changes to the operation of planning obligations – formerly planning agreements – and introduce legislation covering the use of good neighbour agreements. (30/07/10) I Draft Development Plan for Offshore Wind Energy Developments in Scottish Territorial Waters and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Environmental Report. Sets out short, medium and long term options for future development. The Environmental Report explains the likely significant environmental effects of the Draft Development Plan. Views on both are now being sought. (16/08/10) I Environmental Impact Assessment EIA Regulations 2010 Consultation Paper Proposals for the consolidation and updating of Regulations which apply the EIA Directive to the Scottish planning system. (27/08/10)


I National Transport Strategy Refresh Consultation considers whether the NTS requires updating to reflect inter alia challenging economic conditions, the increased focus on climate change mitigation, the National Performance Framework and the Economic Recovery Plan. (Summer 2010) I The Rural Framework Ways in which Rural Scotland can best contribute to Scotland's ‘sustainable economic growth’. Likely to be wide-ranging in scope. (Summer 2010)

I Public Bodies' Climate Change Duties: Putting It Into Practice Part 4 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act places duties on public bodies relating to climate change. The duties on the face of the Act (section 44) require that a public body must, in exercising its functions, act: • in the way best calculated to contribute to delivery of the Act's emissions reduction targets; • in the way best calculated to deliver any statutory adaptation programme; and • in a way that it considers most sustainable. The duties come into force on 1 January 2011. The Act also requires that Scottish Ministers must give guidance to public bodies in relation to their climate change duties, and

I Achieving Community Benefits in Public Procurement Leaflet. (13/05/10)

I One Scotland: One Geography: One Information Network: Creating Scotland's Spatial Data Infrastructure: Cookbook 1 How to serve a Scottish SDI and INSPIRE conformant Web Map Service First of a series of Scottish Government (in partnership with the British Geological Survey) guidance manuals/toolkits which will define appropriate standards for delivery of spatial data as web services, and provide guidance on the technology options that are currently. (06/05/10) I Review of the Impact of Community Engagement Within Regeneration Brief overview. (05/05/10) I Scotland Rural Development Programme 2007-2013: Rural Development Regulation (EC) No 1698-2005 (05/05/10) I Understanding why some people do not use buses - Research Finding No. 17 This explores perceptions of bus services and

barriers to use amongst people who do not use buses often. (23/04/10) I Rural Funding: Opportunities Guide (19/04/10)

I Marine Scotland Strategic Plan 2010-2013 Sets out the direction of travel and key priorities. (16/04/10)

I Implementation of the Water Environment and Water Services (Scotland) Act 2003: Annual Report to the Scottish Parliament 2009 (15/04/10)

I Scottish Government Carbon Assessment Project Phase 2 Report Explains the methodology behind the carbon assessment of the Scottish 2010-11 budget, possible methodological extensions, and how the results from the carbon assessment can inform the decision-making process. (15/04/10)

I Use of Falcons to Displace Nesting Gulls from an Urban Area: Final Report Report following a 10-week trial of falconry flights within Dumfries Town Centre. (14/04/10)


those bodies must have regard to such guidance. (Summer 2010)

I Land Use Strategy Scotland’s first Land Use Strategy will provide a long-term framework for sustainable land use. It will set out Minister’s objectives for sustainable land use and the proposals and policies which contribute to meeting those objectives. The strategy must contribute to other obligations on emissions reduction targets and climate change adaptation objectives, as well as sustainable development. (Summer 2010)

I Wider Planning for an Ageing Population - Housing & Communities A Consultation on the report of the Wider Planning for an Ageing Population Working Group, part of the Reshaping Care Programme. The report looks at the issues facing older people's housing and proposes a number of actions to meet the outcomes we would like to achieve.

I Consultation on the marine licensing regime under the Marine (Scotland) Act and the UK Marine and Coastal Access Act This consultation seeks views on the new marine licensing regime which we wish to create through secondary legislation or existing provisions within the Acts. Details of Scottish Government publications and consultations are reproduced courtesy of Crown Copyright.

These are written by research specialists in the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe). SPICe research briefings are for use by MSPs in support of parliamentary business in the Committees and in the Chamber and are always impartial. Briefings can be browsed either by subject or by date of publication. I SB 10-36 Mapping the Economy Maps the latest data for a selection of indicators from which trends within the Scottish economy can be identified.

I SB 10-34 The Scottish Housing Market - Update Provides information on house prices, the housing market, initiatives to support first-time buyers and homeowners, mortgage arrears and repossessions and the house building industry. It also provides information on measures taken by the Scottish Government to support the functioning of the housing market. I SB 10-33 Invasive Non-Native Species Provides an introduction to invasive non-native species (INNS) and explores the issues surrounding INNS.

I SB 10-29 Hill Farming Describes hill farming in Scotland, including the findings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s inquiry into the Hills and Islands of Scotland. I SB 10-27 Flooding: Frequently Asked Questions A short overview of some of the key responsibilities related to flooding in light of changes brought in by the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act.

From Oban Harbour © Image courtesy of Charles Strang

CLIMATE CHANGE CORNER If space permits, each set of policy pages from the Scottish Planner will have a small corner devoted to Climate Change matters, giving additional emphasis to those consultations and publications addressing issues of Climate Change mitigation and adaptation, and sharing both problems and solutions. What key references and sources do you use? Tell us about them so we can share them with other practising planners!

I Sustainable Energy in the Built Environment: Best Practice for Scottish Planners Published by the Energy Saving Trust and intended to help planners to develop policies and make decisions that promote sustainable energy use and production at a domestic level. Produced with the support of the RTPI in Scotland, the support pack aims to provide inspiration through case studies, and signposts users to other useful resources. (21/04/10) I The Green Guide for Historic Buildings: how to improve the environmental performance of listed and historic buildings Published by The Prince's Regeneration Trust and gives expert opinions on sympathetic adaptation and, crucially, how effective it is likely to be in saving money and reducing carbon emissions. (09/04/10)

I Carbon accounting think-piece - Measuring Carbon Emissions: an interpretation for SEPA Published by SEPA. (16/10/09)

I RTPI’s Climate Change Compendium The RTPI’s seven commitments on climate change promotes the vital role that planning must play in adapting to and mitigating against climate change. The Compendium supports this. Browse through the accompanying pages to see all the entries and then share your own examples of best practice, questions and (missing?) links with as well as with us at


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Journal of the RTPI in Scotland Issue Number 135 June 2010