Lawrence Fitzpatrick Scotland reports Party Lawrence Fitzpatrick Scotland

Hopes new planning rules will protect West Lothian countryside scuppered

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Hopes that new national planning rules would help protect the countryside from housing development look to be groundless.Councillors on West Lothian's Executive this week heard that crucial areas on planning regulation, which currently give no protection against speculative development have not been altered by the National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4).Four years in the making, many councillors in West Lothian had pinned their hopes that the major overhaul of the planning laws would bring simplicity and clarity to regulation, which too often seems to favour the developers and offers no support to councils or communities trying to protect their environments.Steve Lovell, principal planner, delivered a report on the introduction of NPF4.

He told the committee that the document was intended to guide development and set out national planning policies.Council leader Labour's Lawrence Fitzpatrick asked a series of questions related to the council's recent experience with decisions taken by planning reporters hearing appeals made to the Scottish Government's Division of Planning and Environmental Appeals ( DPEA).Councillor Fitzpatrick asked: "Many people were concerned about developers coming in applying for designated countryside sites or greenbelt, which were not designated for development in the local development plan.

Does NPF 4 protect these sites?Mr Lovell explained that the position is as it probably always was that developers can apply to build on any sitesCouncillor Fitzpatrick asked if councils had rejected development proposals the new framework would stop developers going to appeal ."The position regarding appeals has not changed," Mr Lovell told the meeting.Councillor Fitzpatrick asked if promised third party rights

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