Latest Changes to the Planning System


On 30 June 2013, the following regulations came into force in Scotland:

The Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (Scotland) Regulations 2013 (the Development Management Regulations);
The Town and Country Planning (Appeals) (Scotland) Regulations 2013 (the Appeals Regulations);
The Town and Country Planning (Schemes of Delegation and Local Review Procedure) (Scotland) Regulations 2013 (the Local Review Regulations); and
The Town and Country Planning (Control Advertisements) (Scotland) Regulations 2013.

The regulations consolidate a number of previous amendments but there are also notable new changes, including:

Development Management Regulations

Applications for planning permission made on or after 30 June 2013 will need to be accompanied by a plan identifying neighbouring land owned by the applicant, where relevant.
Applications for planning permission made on or after 30 June 2013 for development on land in which the Crown has an interest will need to be accompanied by a statement that the application is made in respect of Crown land.
Roads are no longer included in the definition of “neighbouring land” meaning that neighbour notification and advertisement won’t need to be carried out in respect of any roads for applications made on or after 30 June 2013.
For applications made on or after 30 June 2013, there is no longer a requirement to publish a newspaper notice in the absence of premises on neighbouring land to which a notice can be sent. This applies where the neighbouring land is owned by the planning authority or applicant, or where the proposal is for householder development.
Network Rail must now be consulted where an application is for development within 10 metres of a railway line.
To ensure compliance with a European Directive on reducing risks and impacts of major accidents involving specified hazardous substances, the planning authority must now consult with SNH and SEPA in respect of applications made on or after 30 June 2013 for specified types of development which could have implications for major accident hazards regardless of whether these bodies consider consultation is required.
The authority for planning authorities to grant planning permission which does not accord with development plan following publication of a newspaper notice and consultation period, which was previously included in a 1996 Direction, has now been restated in legislation.
Decision notices issued on or after 30 June 2013, must include a statement explaining how the applicant can get information on how to request a review by a local review body or how to appeal, whichever is relevant.

Advertisement Consents

Appeals in relation to advertisement consent applications, discontinuance notices and enforcement notices under the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisement) (Scotland) Regulations 1984 which are sought on or after 30 June 2013 will now be subject to the Appeals Regulations.
Accordingly the right to be heard in advertisement appeals has been removed and it will now be for the reporter to determine the procedure to be followed in an appeal.
Where a right to appeal against a refusal of advertisement of consent, a grant of consent with conditions or a failure to determine arises on or after 30 June 2013, the time period for making the appeal will now be 3 months (the period was previously 6 months).
From 30 June 2013, the period for appealing against a discontinuance notice will be the period specified in the notice, which must be not less than 28 days (the period was previously 28 days).

The Local Review Regulations

Schemes of delegation will now no longer need to prohibit appointed officers from determining applications in which the planning authority has an interest. Authorities will need to update their schemes of delegation for this to take effect and many already appear to be doing just that.
The period after which permission is deemed to be refused in the absence of a decision by the local review body, and at which point the applicant can appeal to the Scottish Ministers, will now be 3 months. Previously the period was 2 months and this change will apply to local reviews provided that the 2 month period did not expire before 30 June 2013.
Hearing Statements for local review hearings notified on or after 30 June 2013 will now need to fully set out the case to be put forward at the hearing although the Scottish Government suggests, on the basis that it seems to be less of an issue compared to appeal hearings, that local review bodies may not feel the need to request more detailed statements

The Scottish Government’s Guidance Note on the changes and the transitional arrangements can be found here.