Since being elected I have had the pleasure of serving as vice chair of the council’s planning applications committee and throughout this time I have seen the limitations of our current planning legislation, especially in community involvement, and I was therefore initially excited to see the new planning bill work its way through our Scottish Parliament.

Due to the current Scottish Government legislation, planners and elected members who serve in planning are limited to focusing on planning issues only and are not allowed to consider any other factors.

Locally, we have had an ongoing issue with the planning application that was submitted for the WH Malcom gasification plant which was rejected by councillors but appealed to Scottish ministers.

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This has been going on for four years and I have written to the minister last year advising of our communities’ frustration with the lack of a decision from the Scottish Government.

I do agree that a rigorous process can sometimes cause delay but our communities deserve more and waiting four years with no decision further erodes trust and transparency in our planning system.

Our planning system is there to help stimulate economic growth and also to protect communities as our city continually reinvents itself. We are not the same city we were 100 or even 10 years ago. Buildings and their use change – with a great example of this being the Channel 4 creative hub proposed for an iconic building in our Merchant City that used to be a factory at one point.

So change is good and can play a positive impact in the community but only if we include our communities in these decisions and make them an important element of the planning system and I hope these elements of the current planning bill are retained and embraced.