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Planning for greener communities

Planning for greener communities

New long-term plan and policy comes into effect.

Projects returning former industrial or derelict sites to community use will be more likely to be approved following the introduction of long term planning reforms.

Planning Minister Tom Arthur visited the £4.2 million Lochshore development at the former Glengarnock Steelworks in Ayrshire to see progress transforming a former heavy industry site into parkland for the benefit of local people and visitors.

Local authorities are encouraged to support proposals for development that will help restore green spaces under the fourth National Planning Framework (NPF4), as part of local development plans. The policy against which planning applications will be assessed for the next decade comes into effect today.

Policies in the NPF4 will also:

  • enable more renewable energy generation, outside National Parks and National Scenic Areas, to support the transition away from reliance on fossil fuels
  • Regenerate city and town centres to help them adapt to economic change while restricting some out of town retail and drive through developments
  • Support the delivery of good quality, affordable homes in neighbourhoods where people can easily access shops, schools and workplaces within a 20 minute walk or cycle

Mr Arthur said:

“The Scottish Government has supported this transformation from a derelict site which was holding back development in North Ayrshire into a significant new visitor attraction and sports facility.

“Our reforms represent a turning point for planning, a strong signal of support for healthier communities and prosperous local economies. They can help promote local renewal at sites across Scotland in line with the National Strategy for Economic Transformation.

“This Framework gives local planners across the country the green light to build the fairer, greener Scotland we want to see to tackle climate change and benefit future generations.”

North Ayrshire Council Provost Anthea Dickson said:

“We are delighted to welcome the Minister and show what an incredible facility we have here in the Garnock Valley.

“Since officially opening late last year, the Lochshore Park Hub has already proven to be a popular destination for local residents and visitors alike. Not only is it an attractive, vibrant facility but as we move on to the next stages of its development, the benefits it provides will become even greater.

“This wouldn’t have been possible without close collaboration with the local community who have been integral to its development from the very early stages – it’s a real testament to community spirit.”


Find out more about NPF4 here.

Read the document in full here.

Glengarnock Iron and Steelworks produced rails for the growing rail network from 1843 and closed in 1985. The site covers around 250 hectares, including Kilbirnie Loch, and is being restored to include parkland and new facilities for a local rugby club and community sports. Lochshore Park Hub was opened in October 2022 to provide food and drink, function rooms and changing rooms. The Scottish Government supported the development through its Regeneration Capital Grant Fund.

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