‘Centralising’ SNP overturning too many local planning decisions

New figures have revealed the Scottish Government overrules local authorities more often than not when applicants take their planning permission appeals to ministers. So far this year, 77 of the 145 planning appeals across Scotland have been “allowed” by the SNP, despite councils originally rejecting the submissions.

That means applicants who refuse to accept the decision of councillors have been sided with on 53 per cent of occasions by ministers, compared to just 41 per cent when the SNP came to power in 2007.

And in 1999, the statistics compiled by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) show only 32 per cent of planning appeals were granted.

Among the decisions appealed to ministers include windfarms, mobile phone masts and housing developments.

Scottish Conservative candidate for Dumfriesshire, Oliver Mundell, said the figures are proof of the SNP’s centralising agenda, and its culture of distrust towards local decision making. In response to these latest figures Mr Mundell has called for the Scottish Government to stop demanding new powers and start handing back control to local communities.

In 2014, 56 per cent of planning decisions brought to the Scottish Government were overturned, which was itself a 13 per cent jump from the previous year.

In the first half of this year, 50% of appeals here in Dumfries and Galloway were approved by the Scottish government. Last year 9 of the 16 appeals in the region went ahead representing a 56 per cent success rate.

Commenting, Scottish Conservative Candidate for Dumfriesshire, Oliver Mundell said:

“These figures yet again show the disregard the Scottish Government and the SNP have for local decision making. I firmly believe that local people know best how these decision will affect our communities and it these kinds of planning decisions should rightly be based on local needs.”

“It is not acceptable for ministers sitting in Edinburgh to continually claim they know better. By taking these decisions away from local people and local councils they are setting a worrying precedent and sending out entirely the wrong message.”

“By dictating these planning decisions the Scottish Government are effectively saying to developers – no matter how unpopular or contentious the planning application, don’t worry if the councils says no, we’ll sort it out.”

He added:

“It is therefore little wonder that people across Dumfries and Galloway are growing increasingly angry and tired of central belt bias, and it is time for the Scottish Government to stop demanding new powers and start handing back control to local communities.”