Scotland's first Simplified Planning Zone announced
An innovative planning scheme that aims to accelerate business growth at one of Scotland’s largest business parks has been approved by both Renfrewshire Council and Glasgow City Council.

The Simplified Planning Zone (SPZ) at Hillington Park, the first of its kind in Scotland, has also received support from The Scottish Government.

Economic development forecasts have suggested that the new SPZ at Hillington Park has the potential to generate 2,800 full time jobs and generate additional economic wealth of £217m every year over the next ten years.

The joint SPZ scheme simplifies and streamlines planning regulations over a 10 year period allowing construction projects to proceed within weeks if the proposed works fall under the agreed parameters of the scheme. All of the key planning considerations have been dealt up-front.

Jamie Cumming, Hillington Park’s Commercial Director said: “The potential impact of the SPZ is significant for everyone on the Park, and for those looking for a new location for their businesses. With the SPZ in place businesses can plan confidently for growth because the new planning guidelines allow occupiers to develop and enhance their properties quickly and with greater certainty. Hillington Park has the potential to deliver around 85,000 sqm of new commercial floorspace with the consequent positive economic impact that comes from that.

“Both Renfrewshire Council and Glasgow City Council must be applauded for their vision in developing and approving the SPZ. They recognise the potential economic impact it could have, not just at Hillington Park but the resultant benefits across the west of Scotland. Working towards this new SPZ hasn’t been straightforward and has taken a lot of hard work over the last year. It is a big achievement for everyone involved to have reached this stage and we are all very excited about the potential of the SPZ.”

Hillington Park, which is owned by Patrizia UK Ltd, is one of Scotland’s largest business Parks. It lies to the south of the M8 motorway between Glasgow and Paisley and straddles the administrative boundary between Renfrewshire Council and Glasgow City Council. It covers in excess of 400 acres, is currently home to over 500 businesses working across all sectors and who collectively employ around 6500 people. Over 75 acres of development land are also available on the Park.

The Minister for Local Government and Planning Derek Mackay said: “Scottish Ministers welcome the initiative shown by the Councils in Renfrewshire and Glasgow in establishing a Simplified Planning Zone. The SPZ will remove a number of planning applications from the system through a more proactive approach and could assist the Councils to continue to improve their performance and decision making timescales. It demonstrates that they’re open for business and in offering a simplified process for investors and existing companies, they recognise the importance of Planning in increasing sustainable economic growth.”

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “Renfrewshire Council is a cooperative council and this Simplified Planning Zone is a prime example of what can be done through cooperation and commitment to excellence. Patrizia, Renfrewshire and Glasgow share a vision of Hillington Park as a physical hub for industrial and commercial growth. We are ready to build on the opportunities created by the Hillington SPZ; an expected 2,800 new full time jobs and £217m-a-year boost to our local economy. This is what can happen when enterprising businesses and proactive planners work together and it is already an achievement of which we can be proud.”

Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “The new Simplified Planning Zone will attract developers and investors to Hillington Park, helping drive economic growth and creating jobs. Not only that, but the new scheme will see environmental improvements made, making the business park even more attractive to firms looking to locate in the area. This is great news for the economies of Glasgow and Renfrewshire.”

Consultation with Hillington Park occupiers, Community Councils and a number of statutory bodies on the SPZ began in January 2014.