MSP Alex Rowley has set out the need for a more balanced approach to planning that gives communities equal rights with developers and ensures public services are accounted for in any major developments.

Speaking in the Parliament as the new Planning Bill makes its way through the chamber, the Labour MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife said that local communities must have a greater say and that the impact on public services of new developments must be taken into account.

Mr Rowley has been involved in the debate in Kelty over the need for a new health centre to tackle the increase in the village's population from a proposal to build a further 900 houses off Cocklaw Street.

The fears aired by the management of the health facility are that it is not big enough to cope and Mr Rowley feels it is classical of the problems that currently exist in the planning system.

He said: “In Fife we are seeing the impact of not planning for public services like schools and health centres when large scale housing developments are built.

"That is why I am pushing for communities to have the powers to demand local infrastructure when it is needed to support new developments and for that to be part of the material consideration of any planning application for large scale development".

He added: “We need to have a planning system that delivers a fairer balance between the rights of developers and the rights of the public.

"For too long the public have felt left out of planning decisions in their communities. With public confidence in planning at a low, this bill is an opportunity to deliver a fairer system that better delivers for the communities across Scotland.

“I also believe we have a chance to balance out the rights of communities by supporting an equal right of appeal. I do not understand why developers have all the rights and communities have very few - this must be addressed”.

Mr Rowley rejected the idea that planning is stalling housing development and highlighted the cuts to local planning budgets saying that on average council planning services lost 23% of planning staff between 2009 and 2016 and over the same period the average cut to planning services was 23%.

The Bill now goes to stage two where amendments will be considered over the coming weeks.