First council adopts Simplified Planning Zone to speed up housing development



North Ayrshire Council has become the first local authority in Scotland to adopt a new Simplified Planning Zone (SPZ) which aims to stimulate development on a prime housing site.

The new process has been introduced for Montgomerie Park in Irvine, which the council hope will be a catalyst for new houses on the site.

The Scottish Government pilot is unique in that it aims to deliver housing for a major development by providing planning consent upfront, the first of its kind in Scotland.

Montgomerie Park has been allocated in the development plan for residential development for around 30 years, with approximately half of 1000 new homes built to date.

After slow delivery and sales rates in recent years post-recession, the SPZ seeks to reinvigorate house building at Montgomerie Park by granting planning permission before the land is sold, providing certainty on the delivery of around 165 homes for both prospective developers and local residents.

The scheme works by providing a framework which guides development and places standards and conditions that must be met. If developers comply with the parameters and conditions of the SPZ Scheme they do not need to apply for planning permission.

The 14.5-acre site will now be marketed to housebuilders.

Councillor Jim Montgomerie, cabinet member for place, said: “Our Planning team has done a great job in getting this off the ground.

“They’ve been working very hard with the Scottish Government to arrange this and make appropriate parameters for developers. They’ve effectively done the leg work for the developers so they don’t have the planning process to deal with.

“We are now looking to market the area and hopefully we will see even more development on the site soon.”



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