MSP fears planning rule changes

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Changes to planning laws designed to protect communities have been criticised by an MSP.

The Scottish Government is considering changes to planning legislation to remove the requirement for applicants to carry out pre-application consultation with a community before applying for approval to change conditions on an existing planning permission for a major or national development.

This could, for example, see supermarkets extend their opening hours without further consulting local residents.

Tory list MSP for Central Scotland Margaret Mitchell has expressed concern and says the operational hours of businesses could be the difference between people supporting or objecting to any planning application.

She added: “Many people will be surprised to hear that developers can now sneak through controversial planning conditions changes.

“It is essential that changes are not open to abuse and a fair balance between local residents’ interests and an efficient system is struck.”

The Scottish Government says proposals were requested by local authorities.

A spokesperson added: “Our proposals would not remove the requirement for the planning authority to advertise and consult with local communitie4s on applications for planning permission. They would only remove the need for further consultation ahead of an application to change conditions on an existing planning permission.”

If approved by Holyrood the changes will apply from February 2.