We are testing a new beta website for gov.scot go to new site

Content notice

The content on these pages is not being updated. Get up-to-date information on the Scottish Government's building, planning and design policies on https://beta.gov.scot


mail us tiny 20 Correspondence relating to development plans should go to: developmentplans@gov.scot

telephone tiny 20 Carrie Thomson    0131 244 7529

telephone tiny 20 Robin Campbell    0131 244 0626

telephone tiny 20 Simon Pallant       0131 244 7761

Area 2-H (South)
Planning & Architecture Division,
The Scottish Government
Victoria Quay

Key Documents

Development Planning

The planning system in Scotland is ‘plan’ led
  • Development plans are important because they set out the long term vision for change for the places they cover – they plan for where development should and shouldn’t happen.
  • They have a key role is delivering the strategy and policy set out in the National Planning Framework  and Scottish Planning Policy.
  • They are the legal starting point for making decisions on planning applications.
The Development Plan can consist of up to 3 parts
  • A Local Development Plan is required for each council area across Scotland.  It allocates sites, either for new development, such as housing, or sites to be protected.  It also includes policies that guide decisions on all planning applications.
  • A Strategic Development Plan is required for the 4 largest city regions – Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow .  These deal with region-wide issues that cross boundaries of council areas, for example the scale of housing and the transport and water and connections needed.
  • Supplementary Guidance can be part of the Development Plan when it has met legal requirements, including carrying out a public consultation.  It can provide further information or detail on the polices or proposals that are in the development plan, for example a master-plan for a site.
The Scottish Government is committed to development planning at all levels and to improving their performance 

Scottish Ministers priorities for plans are for them to be up-to-date, to be based on the unique characteristics of the places and communities  they cover, and for them to enable the delivery of the right development in the right place for those communities.

Planning for Infrastructure Research Project

The research report is the output of a 9 month project commissioned by the Scottish Government and undertaken by Ryden, WSP and Brodies LLP. It highlights the central role of development planning in delivering infrastructure in Scotland and was informed by the views of planning authorities across Scotland, the development industry, agencies, utility providers and funders. It identifies and reviews existing and emerging practice in the delivery of infrastructure to enable development through the planning system in Scotland and identifies key principles and recommendations from this practice.

The Scottish Government has now published a response to the research recommendations.  It sets out the issues that the forthcoming ‘Planning Delivery’ guidance on housing and infrastructure will address.  The ongoing independent review of planning is also examining planning and infrastructure issues.  We will revisit this response in 2016, in light of the independent panel’s recommendations.

The Development Plan Gateway is the contact point for all correspondence to Planning and Architecture Division (PAD) from all stakeholders, including planning authorities, agencies, developers and members of the public, on matters relating to the processing or content of development plans in Scotland.