Planning Minister Visits Springfield Development

2 February 2013
Innes Smith and Derek McKay

The Minister toured Springfield Properties' Riverside Point in Braehead. Springfield currently employs around 60 skilled workers building over 60 homes a year at this development alone and was praised by the Minister for their efforts in regenerating the area, whilst building energy efficient homes and highlighted the Government’s commitment to improving planning.

Following his visit the Minister said:

"It has been great to visit Riverside Point and see for myself how the development is helping regenerate this part of Renfrewshire. I'm encouraged that Springfield Properties have a 'can do' attitude when it comes to building new homes that are energy efficient and will contribute to our climate change agenda.

"The Scottish Government is committed to reforming our planning system as part of our efforts to build sustainable economic growth. Everyone involved has a part to play in a quicker, more responsive planning system. Early, meaningful engagement and sound project management are key to efficiency and I am absolutely committed to delivering improved planning performance.

"We are working together with local government colleagues and other interested parties to make sure this happens."

Sandy Adam, Springfield chairman, believes the planning system will change for the better, he commented:

It was with pleasure that we hosted the Minister’s. We believe the Minister’s proposals for a more efficient planning system will have a positive impact on economic growth and we are keen to see them take effect.

It currently takes on average 22 months for us to deliver a home, 18 months in planning and four months to build. Springfield currently spend up to three times as much on getting planning consents as we do on buying blocks to build our houses!

Both the public and private sectors have a responsibility to make these changes work so that projects can be undertaken more quickly. In turn creating the investment in jobs and homes which will make Scotland an even more attractive place to live and work.

Following the visit Springfield’s managing director Innes Smith explained Springfield’s approach to building energy efficient homes,

“We believe we should build the best homes we can for our customers. Modern homes are very energy efficient, much more affordable to run and more comfortable to live in, and better for the environment.”

“In order to deliver timely outcomes for major planning applications, we already initiate discussions with senior officials, planners and all consultees early in the process. Things are definitely changing, with planners becoming much more open to this kind of communication and we welcome the Government’s commitment to developing a streamlined approach.”

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