The Scottish Government has overruled more than 380 planning decision appeals in the past five years since the last local elections, new statistics show.
Among them were 42 appeals made by Aberdeenshire Council – the second highest figure in the country, after only Edinburgh City Council.
Figures released to the Scottish Conservatives through a freedom of information request show 50% of planning decisions from the north-east local authority have been overturned by the government since 2017.
Coming in third was the Highland Council, which had 36 appeals overruled since 2017.
In Aberdeen City, the figure was 14, while Moray had five, Orkney had four, Shetland had one and the Western Isles Council and Cairngorm National Park Authority had two planning decisions overturned each.
They were among 383 planning decision appeals made by councils and national park authorities overruled across the country in that time.
January, a reporter for the Scottish Government overturned Highland Council’s decision to refuse a planning application for Strathrory wind farm in Ardross, Alness.
There were more than 50 objections to the proposals, with the main issue being the visual impact of the development on the area.
However, in a letter to the council on January 9, 2022, reporter Keith Bray concluded that the landscape is “influenced” but not “dominated” by wind farms.
At the time, planning committee chairwoman Maxine Morley-Smith said: “What’s the point of having a local planning committee at all? We may as well just ask the Scottish Government.”
Other contentious applications have included Barratt North Scotland’s plans for 121 homes in Newburgh, which was overturned by the government reporter in 2019, and a £70million proposal for 245 flats to be built beside Aberdeen’s famous Rubislaw Quarry.
More than 400 people registered their objections to the Rubislaw plans, before Scottish Government reporter David Buylla indicated he was “minded to allow the appeal and grant planning permission,” subject to conditions.
📷 Douglas Lumsden commented on the planning statistics released through a freedom of information request.
Douglas Lumsden, Scottish Conservative MSP for the north-east region, said: “These figures highlight that the planning system is broken, with Scottish Government ministers constantly failing to respect community decision-making over a host of developments.
“The Scottish Conservatives would guarantee in law that no planning decisions made locally can be overturned in Holyrood.
“That would give people in the north-east the confidence that decisions made at council level would be final.
“SNP Ministers must explain why they regularly feel the need to ignore the wishes of those who would be affected by these projects.”

Decisions consider ‘merits of each case’

A Scottish Government spokesman said the decisions of reporters take local communities into account, and are independent of politics.
He said: “The vast majority of planning appeals to Scottish ministers are decided by independent reporters, who are based throughout Scotland, from the Planning and Environmental Appeals Division of the Scottish Government.…/scottish…/

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