The Scottish Government’s long-awaited ‘Housing to 2040’ report was published on 15 March 2021.

The concept of the ‘20 Minute Neighbourhood’ features heavily in the strategy, which sets out a 20 year plan to deliver good quality, net zero-carbon housing with access to connectivity and community services.

The aim is to ensure that housing in 2040 will enable people to live in homes which are affordable, meet their needs, and that they genuinely want to live in.

Within this route map to delivering quality places, the 20 Minute Neighbourhood is considered as playing a key role in addressing economic growth, addressing child poverty and ending homelessness.

The Place Based Investment Programme is being established for 2021; a £325 million investment over five years which will contribute to the Scottish Government’s vision for community-led regeneration, town centre revitalisation and 20 Minute Neighbourhoods.

20 Minute Neighbourhoods have been identified as a means of building stronger and more vibrant places, with a Place Investment Framework which will support the delivery of more affordable housing.

The concept will be applied across cities, towns and rural areas so that places are more resilient and sustainable. The focus in rural areas will be to build more homes which will meet local needs in and around existing communities.

The following key changes have been identified in Homes for 2040:

  • More new homes will be in accessible locations, reducing the need to travel;
  • The introduction of new planning policies so that urban and rural areas will be planned together with community facilities and infrastructure;
  • Blue-green infrastructure and biodiversity as well as green space and play will be embedded into community planning;
  • Flexibility for long term needs such as growing older or accommodating changing life styles such as home working will be built into the design;
  • To ensure that living well locally can be delivered in the most relevant way, whether urban or rural setting, will mean that the approach will be tailored accordingly.

The rooting of the concept of the 20 Minute Neighbourhood within Housing to 2040 indicates that the Scottish Government is serious about delivery of the concept in its long-term housing strategy.

The Royal Town Planning Institute has now produced a policy briefing paper examining how the 20 Minute Neighbourhood concept can be embedded in Scottish planning policy and practice, including the role for the Place Principle and Local Place Plans in supporting delivery of the concept.

The introduction of new planning guidelines to support it, and the potential for the concept to be promoted as a national policy in NPF4, indicates that planning authorities may be looking to include direct policies focusing on the delivery of 20 Minute Neighbourhoods within their future development plans.

This would assist in the planning of them at a local level, and help developers create these new neighbourhoods.

The inclusion of both urban and rural areas in the delivery of the 20 Minute Neighbourhood makes this an exciting opportunity which developers all over Scotland can potentially become involved in.

We will continue to keep a close eye on the roll out of the policy, and if you would like more detailed advice on how it may be applied in your area please get in touch.