Since the 1990s Scottish planning policy has required new development to demonstrate its sustainability credentials. However a recent report from Living Streets Scotland shows that best practice is routinely being ignored.
The Living Streets report explored three major developments in detail – Winchburgh Village in West Lothian, Hilton Garden City in Fife and Cammo Fields in Edinburgh. The Scottish Government’s Planning Policy should have ensured positive choices for residents in terms of walking, cycling, public transport and car clubs but the report identified that none of these developments was deemed easy to live in without at least one household car. Pedestrian design, public transport and local facilities were also lacking.
What further changes are needed to make the planning system more effective. With net-zero aims as part of a climate emergency creating stronger pressure to follow through on these long standing policy aims what more needs done.
Design around car access and over provision of parking provides little sense of place or community. The reliance on cars is exacerbated by the lack of controlled and uncontrolled pedestrian crossing places, missing pavement infrastructure and signage to local facilities.
Access roads have planned connections to the road network, with poor on non-existent walking and cycling routes to local facilities. The level of local services within walking distance often remains poor.
There has only been limited improvement when compared to similar research in 2018, with the gap between government policy and local delivery still wide.
Campaign group “Transport for New Homes” have a useful checklist.
Please add comments and suggestions to contribute to this debate.