Mr Stewart described how the Planning (Scotland) Bill would create a new structure for a more proactive and enabling system with clearer development plans, earlier engagement with communities, streamlined procedures and smarter resourcing.
The bill was devised following the recommendations of an independent review carried out by a panel of experts last year.
Mr Stewart said: “Scotland’s economy needs a world-class planning system.
“Our planning system must take a strong and confident lead in securing the development of great places that will stand the test of time and this bill will encourage more people to play an active role in shaping these.
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“In addition to restructuring and simplifying the system to provide greater certainty for investors and communities alike, it will reflect the importance of development and infrastructure to achieve our ambitions for housing, schools and regeneration – creating jobs and generating economic growth.
“Performance improvement will be formalised so applicants can rely on receiving a consistent service and local authorities will have greater powers to charge for their services.
“In short, this bill will reduce bureaucracy so that planners are better equipped to lead high-quality developments that support the economy and enhance our communities.”