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Catriona Hill represents the Architectural profession at the NPF4 annual review

Guiding the agenda for the future of planning in Scotland

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Christine Kiltie


07 May 2024

'One size does not fit all. NPF4 needs to be read in the whole and applied with proportionality'.

This was one of today’s hotly debated topics at the annual review of the National Planning Framework 4 at Holyrood. Catriona Hill, lead partner for Oberlanders North, provided evidence in her role as Chair of the Highlands & Islands Architects Association, representing RIAS and the wider profession.  

The NPF4 sets out the Scottish Government’s priorities and policies for the planning system through to 2045, all within the critical context of balancing net zero, biodiversity & placemaking agendas. Today’s proceedings presented feedback to the Local Government’s Housing and Planning Committee, in a bid to direct improvements to a well-intentioned but flawed strategy.

There was a general consensus that whilst the intentions to address climate change, encourage biodiversity and improve placemaking, so far the framework is proving less of a tool to encourage development and more a blunt instrument to be brandished at prospective developers resulting in delays, limitations and even inhibiting development.  

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“In a time when economic activity should be encouraged this does not feel like we are pulling together.  We wait in hopeful anticipation for the outcome which will no doubt have significant impact for all involved, not just from industry but for the people we design for”,

Catriona Hill, Oberlanders Partner and Chair of the Highlands and Islands Architects Association

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Chaired by Ariane Burgess from the Housing and Planning Committee, attending alongside Catriona and representing the wider built environment were Alisa Macfarlane, Director of Built Environment Forum Scotland, Craig McLaren, National Planning Improvement Champion and Jenny Munro, Policy and Practice Officer both from the Royal Town Planning Institute.   

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