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


The Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997, as amended by the Planning etc (Scotland) Act 2006, requires Councils and national park authorities to prepare a development plan for their area. These plans must be updated every five years.

Strategic development plans set out a vision for the long term development of the city regions and deals with region wide issues such as housing and transport.

Local development plans set out where most new developments will happen and policies that will guide decision making an planning applications.

Supplementary guidance provides more detailed guidance on specific issues. Common types include:

  • development briefs or master plans
  • strategies or frameworks on specific issues such as location of large wind farms
  • detailed policies, for example on the design of new development.

Detailed legal aspects of the development plan system are set out in a series of statutory instruments

The Town and Country Planning (Development Planning) (Scotland) Regulations 2008

The Town And Country Planning (Grounds For Declining To Follow Recommendations) (Scotland) Regulations 2009


The relevant provisions in the Planning Acts and associated regulations are explained in Circular 6/2013 - Development Planning