Highland Council invites communities to prepare Local Place Plans

Highland communities are formally invited to take the opportunity to prepare a new style Local Place Plan following new powers from Scottish Government that recently came into force.

Local Place Plans are aimed at empowering communities to play a direct role in planning the future of their area. They can be prepared by community bodies, either Community Councils or community-controlled bodies, and can set out a vision and priorities for the future, particularly around the use of land and buildings.

Chair of the Council’s Economy and Infrastructure Committee, Councillor Ken Gowans said: “Local Place Plans will be a really powerful tool for communities to shape their future and outline their aspirations. This is an exciting opportunity for communities to identify what is important to them and their area. For example, this could include sites for affordable housing, new play facilities, and active travel networks.”

The Highland Council announced the launch of its Local Place Plans webpage in December 2022 to give communities an early insight into the Local Place Plan initiative. This webpage contains guidance and tools for any communities wishing to find out more about how Local Place Plans are prepared and how they are submitted to The Highland Council for registration, including the conditions a community-led group must meet to comply with the legal definition of a community body.

Once Local Place Plans are registered by The Highland Council it is required by law to take them into consideration when preparing its Local Development Plan. The new Local Development Plan for Highland will contain regional and settlement strategies, identify specific site allocations, and include some general policies against which any planning application in the Highland Council area will be assessed, alongside consideration of National Planning Framework 4. The new, single Highland Local Development Plan, when finalised and adopted, will replace all four of the Council’s current Local Development Plans.

The Highland Council recently entered the evidence gathering stage for the new Highland Local Development Plan. Any new or updated Local Place Plans for the Highland Council area must be capable of being registered by The Highland Council by Friday 28 June 2024, to enable them to be taken into consideration as part of the core evidence for the new Highland Local Development Plan from the outset of its preparation. Note: Local Place Plans prepared by communities within the Cairngorms National Park are to be submitted to the Cairngorms National Park Authority, as part of the evidence gathering for the Cairngorms National Park Local Development Plan.

For more information on the preparation and submission of Local Place Plans in the Highland Council area, please visit: www.highland.gov.uk/localplaceplans or contact the Highland Council on: lpp@highland.gov.uk

29 Jun 2023