Apr 30 2009 By Frank Hurley
MAJOR changes in the local planning system have been introduced at Glasgow City Council.
The new rules have been drawn up to help locals influence plans at an earlier stage in a proposed development.
The changes will also see a more proportionate method of dealing with planning applications depending on their size and impact.
The way planning applications are dealt with will now depend on where they fall in a hierarchy of development, ranging from national to major to local.
National applications (such as those associated with the 2014 Commonwealth Games) and major ones (more than 50 houses or 10,000 square metres of office or retail space) will be scrutinised in a number of new ways.
Firstly, these applications will be subject to pre-application consultation with local communities usually about 12 weeks before an official application is made.
This consultation is now the responsibility of the developer, who must formally consult the local Community Council and hold a public event to allow local residents to make their views known.
When an application is subsequently lodged, the developer must submit a pre-application consultation report detailing what was done, and any response.
Secondly, these applications would be subject to pre-application hearings where applicants and those who have made representations would be given the opportunity to air their views.
Such applications - national and major - would also have to be passed at a full council meeting.
All other applications would be considered 'local' and could be delegated to planning officers to determine without being considered by elected members.
Planning permission in all cases would be good for three years rather than the current five.
One more important change related to the planning process will take place this year, while another has already been implemented.
From August 3, the responsibility for owner and neighbour notification about small-scale planning applications passes from the applicant to the local authority.
The Scottish Government has also recently consulted on changes to the rules for householder development and, on March 12, brought in new rules for domestic micro-regeneration such as solar panels.
These changes are designed to allow individuals more freedom to develop their property while continuing to protect residential amenity.