Green MSP Ross Greer has called on other politicians and residents to back a change to unfair planning laws following recent controversies in Renfrewshire.
Greer has called for other MSPs to back an Equal Right of Appeal for communities, meaning an end to the current planning rules which allow developers the right to appeal if their application is rejected but doesn’t allow the local community a right to appeal if planning permission is granted against their wishes.
Earlier this year, six appeals to rejected planning applications on greenfield land around Renfrewshire were considered as one, the first time such a collective decision has been taken. This concerned communities who felt the individual applications in their areas would be diluted and important local considerations not taken into account by the catch-all decision making approach.
Green MSP for the West of Scotland Ross Greer has been involved in campaigns against unwanted developments for some years, including as a committee member of We Like Milngavie, who successfully stopped Tesco’s expansion to a town-centre destroying Megastore in the town.
He said: “I hear constantly from communities around the region who are frustrated and left feeling powerless by the planning system. They don’t see why a developer can appeal against a rejection of their plans, but the community don’t have this right when the shoe is on the other foot. We have the opportunity to change this in 2018, if other local MSPs will back an equal right of appeal for communities.
“The current planning system is unbalanced and undemocratic- the developer’s exclusive right of appeal gives them an unfair advantage over communities. A new planning bill will go through the Scottish Parliament in the next few months. I’ll be supporting moves to equalise the right of appeal, but many MSPs and the SNP Government are still to be persuaded. I’d encourage everyone with experience of this unfairness to write to all their MSPs and support Equal Right of Appeal in the planning process.”