Councillors call for Conservation Area Reform

Conservative Councillors Noah Khogali and Angus Forbes call for Conservation Area Reform.

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Conservative Councillors Noah Khogali and Angus Forbes call for Conservation Area Reform.

At the Perth and Kinross Council’s Climate Change and Sustainability Committee on Wednesday, Conservative Councillors Noah Khogali and Angus Forbes will table a motion to ensure that the Council regularly review what is and is not included within Conservation Areas across Perth and Kinross.

Councillor Noah Khogali also went on today say they will call all on the SNP’s Cllr Watters to write to the Scottish Government requesting a review of development rights within Conservation Areas to better bring planning rules in line with climate and sustainability priorities. 

Pictured above a resident, Jim Duff from Blairgowrie who is one of the residents unable to install important sustainability features on their homes, such as solar panels.

Jim Duff said: “This is not a political issue and we are not against Conservation Areas.  But solar panels are considered “permitted development” everywhere apart from in Conservation Areas.

Surely conservation must include the conservation of energy. Ten years ago solar panels may have been considered a blot on the landscape but now with climate change and an energy crisis, it must be time for a sense of balance to prevail and to encourage and not block such projects.” 

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Cllr Noah Khogali said “whilst it is frustrating that we cannot solve this issue overnight, I am hopeful that the combination of our reviewing what is actually a worthwhile conservation area, and calling on the Scottish Government to play their role and review what is permitted development within them, that we can begin to reform local planning rules in a meaningful way.

Too often, archaic planning laws and overly restrictive interpretations of the rules limit worthy developments, and environmentally beneficial adjustments to properties. In the long term, I would hope that increased control over planning legislation is ceded to local authorities, so that they can tailor the rules in their communities to reflect the priorities of those living within them. The first step however, is to bring our Conservation Area rules in line with our priorities for sustainability and fighting climate change.” 

Cllr Angus Forbes said: “As climate change becomes more and more important to us we will see greater conflict between our desire to protect built heritage and our desire to save the planet. The rules as they are currently written are now well past their sell by date and are desperately in need of review. Too many rules that affect local councils are currently held by the Scottish Government and it’s our shared ambition that more of these are devolved in the near future” 

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Cllrs Khogali and Forbes motion in full below:

“To move that PKC commit to an ongoing re-assessment of Conservation Areas in Perth and Kinross, with a minimum of 4 reviews a year, and using an approach that both protects areas of historical and architectural significance, but is also fit for purpose in line with Council commitments regarding Climate Change and Sustainability.

To acknowledge that local authorities are unable to amend regulations regarding what development is permitted within a Conservation Area without planning permission, and ask the Convenor to write to the relevant Scottish Government minister requesting that a review into permitted development rights within Conservation Areas is undertaken with the utmost urgency.”

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