Midlothian North and Musselburgh MSP, Colin Beattie, has committed to lobbying the Scottish Government after a significant number of planning objections are passed either through the Council or by the Government Reporter without enough importance being attached to sometimes serious objections from local communities.
Recently in Roslin, two applications for housing developments were approved despite a high volume of objections and a petition from the local community and in Musselburgh the Quayside development was approved despite the majority of the community against the development happening . Despite the concerns of the public, the planning process does seem to ignore the concerns of local communities.
Speaking on this issue, Colin Beattie MSP said:
“Most communities accept that there is a need for housing but also see the need to mitigate the impact of the new housing by making often small changes to planning conditions, which would improve the outcomes for local communities and make planning applications more palatable.
It cannot be acceptable in a democratic society for the wishes of large numbers of genuinely interested local residents to be ignored or dismissed.
Just because objections come from members of the public who will be impacted does not mean that this is simply “nimbyism”. I have been impressed by the strength and logic of some of the arguments made and have been surprised that greater weight was not given to properly informed local opinion.
There has to be a change to improve transparency and to improve the “value” of local voices, when planning applications are considered. This does not mean that planning applications will grind to a halt; simply that the voice of the public has to be listened to; respected; and visibly given a higher importance than it appears to receive at present.
Failure to make this change, I believe, will result in a deterioration of public confidence in the planning system. While I am not part of the planning process, I intend to lobby the Government Minister responsible to seek a better way forward for local communities.”