This week's Community Column is written by Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer.

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The threat of losing local green space, or of a totally inappropriate proposed housing development, can mobilise a community like little else.

Our planning system pits communities against powerful developers seeking to make a profit, and the Scottish Parliament recently had the chance to level the playing field.

The question of who gets the right to appeal decisions is at the centre of this.

Right now, if a planning application is turned down, the developer can appeal to the Scottish Government, even if elected councillors rejected it unanimously.

This recently happened in Bishopbriggs, where 569 residents’ letters and the vote of every single councillor was overturned by a government official.

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On the other hand, if an application is approved by the council, the community has no equivalent power to appeal it. The deck is stacked in favour of developers.

Groups from all over Scotland came together to put an “equal right of appeal” into the Planning Bill that came before Parliament last week.

Despite hard work by campaigners, and by my Green colleague Andy Wightman, SNP and Conservative MSPs backed the developer lobby and rejected the proposals.

And it’s not just on appeal rights that the bill was a disappointment. The SNP Government joined the Tories in backing the interests of corporations, property speculators and wealthy landowners.

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For example, after a massive lobbying operation by AirBNB and other short-term letting agencies, they opposed the introduction of regulation that would allow the control of the numbers of short-term let properties, which are forcing local residents out of communities like central Edinburgh and other tourist destinations.

This is about democracy and how we make local decisions. Should power be held by government and the corporations who have their ear, or should it flow from the communities who have to live with these decisions in their day-to-day lives?

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While the Greens and others stood up for communities, the SNP and Tories stitched up this bill in favour of developers, and our communities will be the ones to suffer for it.