How does this impact on Community Wellbeing? Planning is a proactive, statutory tool that gives councils influence over the shape of physical environments, and therefore people’s access to green space, facilities, and opportunities for socialising. Tools such as the Place Standard and Health Impact Assessments have in recent years made assessment of the effects of the environment on people easier to judge. And the Place Principle should embed the importance of place-based working. Planning departments in local authorities can very rarely deliver environments that support wellbeing however without support from the wider council, other tiers of government, and collaboration with the private and community sectors. In the English context the Public Health England report Spatial Planning for Health: Getting Research into Practice states ‘Local authorities need both to gain a better understanding of the range of powers at their disposal, including planning...' Why should the Committee focus on this as part of their future work? The introduction of statutory Chief Planning Officers across Scottish councils, as required by the Planning Act 2019, could strengthen the Whole Systems Approach to public health. The details of how this role will work are still to be clarified through regulation and policy. RTPI Scotland believes that these posts could provide the leadership needed to deliver cross-disciplinary and cross-sector collaboration in the creation of places that support wellbeing.
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