Policy & Legislation: Scotland
Alison Allighan writes:
Members may recall that in GHS NEWS 83 we reported that in October 2008 Scottish Planning Policy 23: Planning and the Historic Environment (SPP 23) was published. In the interests of simplification and streamlining the Scottish planning system this replaced the former National Planning Policy Guidelines (NPPG) 18: Planning and the Historic Environment, and NPPG 5: Archaeology and Planning. In terms of gardens and designed landscapes SPP 23 appeared to be a reasonable document and we were disappointed when a further consultation was launched in April this year to replace SPP 23 along with 16 other SPPs and NPPGs, with a single SPP. SPP 23 has been in existence for only six months and has had no time to prove its value or otherwise. The proposed SPP is now so simplified and streamlined that policy for all gardens and designed landscapes in Scotland is reduced to two cursory sentences ‘Planning authorities have a role in protecting and enhancing gardens and designed landscapes included in the current Inventory. The effect of a proposed development on a garden or designed landscape can be a material consideration in decisions on planning applications’.
Readers may be forgiven for thinking that the only gardens and designed landscapes in the country are the 386 included in the Inventory. Overall, policy for the historic environment is minimal, especially when compared with that laid out for the ‘Natural Environment’, where both the value of National and Local Designation is recognised within the planning system. We have now submitted our comments and requested that policy should be reinstated to that set out in the existing SPP 23, recognition should be given to Regional and Local sites as well as the Nationally Important, and the role of the voluntary sector in heritage protection acknowledged.