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Important changes to planning applications and permissions brought into force

Published: 28 September 2022
Time to read: 2 mins

The Scottish Government has continued its implementation of the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019, with two instruments that have effect from 1 October 2022.  These are the previously published Town and Country Planning (Pre-Application Consultation) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2021 (the PAC Regulations), and the new Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 (Commencement No. 9 and Saving and Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2022 (the 9th Commencement Regulations).

The 9th Commencement Regulations bring into force some technical but important changes:

  • The time limit to commence development after permission is granted – or apply for approval of matters specified in conditions – will now be specified as a condition of the planning permission or planning permission in principle.  The current system of time limits created by the Planning etc. (Scotland) Act 2006 (by directions rather than conditions) had caused unnecessary confusion so this is a welcome development, although it in fact takes us back to the original position of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997.
  • Planning authorities will be able to decline to consider repeat applications made within the past 5 years, rather than the current 2 years.
  • Completion notices, by which a planning authority can require an applicant to complete unimplemented parts of their planning permission, or else their permission will lapse, are being changed with the idea they will become easier for planning authorities to use.  At present all completion notices need confirmed by the Scottish Ministers.  In future the parties served with a completion notice will have to object within 28 days or it will take effect without confirmation.

The PAC Regulations apply to most types of major development including for example developments of 50+ homes.  Where they apply, they will require:

  • At least two public consultation events;
  • Newspaper notices in relation to each event (which are to state where additional information on the proposals can be obtained and how feedback can be given);
  • Consultation with relevant community councils;
  • Feedback from the first event to be given at the second consultation event; and
  • Changes to the content of the pre-application consultation report, which is submitted with the application for permission.

Many changes made by the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 are now implemented, although significant changes will continue not least when the new National Planning Framework comes into force.

If you have any questions on planning applications and permissions or would like to discuss your own circumstances – we can help.

Please get in touch with Colin Hamilton or Sandy Telfer to discuss further.

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