Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross has pledged his party will “stand up” for communities that have been “left behind” by the SNP as he promises to give people a right to veto unwanted developments.
Mr Ross insisted there were “too many examples” where projects are granted planning permission, despite the concerns of nearby residents.
He said that to “rebuild” communities developments should be “improving, not damaging them”.
He spoke out on the issue ahead of his speech to the Scottish Conservative conference on Saturday – which is taking place online because of the coronavirus crisis.
As well as promising to give communities a veto on unwanted developments, Mr Ross will also set out plans for a programme of community investment deals.
These could see local people given a greater say in how UK and Scottish government investment is spent in their area.
Mr Ross will use his speech to the virtual conference on Saturday to stress the need for more powers to be handed down to communities across the country.
Speaking ahead of his first conference since becoming Scottish Tory leader, Mr Ross said: “The SNP’s focus on centralisation has undermined local decision-making across Scotland.
“While they constantly complain to the UK about powers and cash, they have shamelessly grabbed both from local areas for 13 years.
“We in the Scottish Conservatives will stand up for all the communities, villages and towns that have been left behind.
“We believe that everyone should have the same opportunities regardless of where they live.”
He added: “We need to target our investment towards creating good jobs in every part of our country. Economic growth is not an end in itself, if it leaves communities behind and entrenches inequality of place.
“Which is why we would deliver a programme of community investment deals to build new partnerships between communities and the UK and Scottish governments, partnerships where local people call more of the shots.”
Mr Ross continued: “We would also give communities the power to prevent Scottish ministers forcing a development on them that they don’t want.
“At the moment, there are too many examples where hundreds of local objections are dismissed.
“This is not about preventing development, it is about promoting development that benefits local areas. To rebuild our communities, we must ensure that new developments are improving, not damaging them.”