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Scottish Planning Series Circular 4 2009: Development Management Procedures





( Regulations 9 - 12)

3.1 Until a standard national planning application form is introduced, planning authorities should continue to produce their own forms for applications or applicants can use an e-form (or its paper equivalent) produced by the Scottish Government. The regulations contain the minimum requirements for an application and accompanying documentation (in this section of the circular termed "the application"), the receipt of which starts the period for determination. Planning authorities should ensure that their forms contain the minimum requirements set out in regulations.

3.2 Planning authorities should consider producing guidance on the information required to meet the statutory minimum. Where information is provided in accordance with the minimum statutory requirements, the application should be registered as valid. Additional information might be required in order to determine an application for development in certain circumstances but requests for such additional information should not delay the process of validation and registration.

3.3 Applicants are encouraged to think beyond the statutory minimum requirements for an application, and try to anticipate, in discussion with the planning authority, what additional information might be needed to support efficient processing of the application (see paragraph 2.3).

Applications for planning permission

( Regulation 9)

3.4 The required content of an application for planning permission is as follows:

(a) a written description of the development to which it relates;

(b) the postal address of the land to which the development relates, or if the land in question has no postal address, a description of the location of the land;

(c) the name and address of the applicant and, where there is an agent, the name and address of that agent.

(d) a plan-

(i) sufficient to identify the land to which it relates; and

(ii) showing the situation of the land in relation to the locality and in particular in relation to neighbouring land;

(e) such other plans and drawings as are necessary to describe the development;

(f) one or other of the certificates required under regulation 15 in relation to owners and agricultural tenants;

(g) where the application relates to a national development or a major development, a written pre application consultation report;

(h) where the application relates to an installation of an antenna to be employed in an electronic communication network, an ICNIRP1 declaration;

(i) a design statement or a design and access statement where required by regulation 13; and

(j) any fee payable under the Fees Regulations.

Plans and Drawings

3.5 The plans and drawings submitted must accurately describe the proposals and tie in with the written description of the development. Annex D describes the main types of plan that are commonly submitted. Not every plan described there will be required in every case.

Applications for planning permission in principle

( Regulation 10)

3.6 The differences between the requirements for the content of applications and accompanying documents for planning permission in principle and those for detailed planning permission relate to the following:

  • no requirement for plans and drawings other than a location plan;
  • no requirement for a design or design and access statement to be prepared;
  • a requirement to describe the location of the access points to the development from a road where this is not otherwise detailed in the application and accompanying documents.

3.7 It is for the applicant to decide what level of detail they wish to provide. However, it is open to planning authorities to require additional information using regulation 24 (Further Information) where necessary to determine the application. While planning permission in principle is to establish the acceptability of a proposal in principle without having to develop the detailed proposals, applicants should discuss with planning authorities any additional information that is likely to be required. This may relate to matters such as design or access, traffic assessment or the requirements of other legislation, such as the EIA Regulations.

Further applications

( Regulation 11)

3.8 Where an application is made before the duration of a planning permission expires for the same development or to change conditions associated with the existing permission, then only certain of the requirements on content of applications need apply.

3.9 A further application for planning permission or planning permission in principle must include:

  • the name and address of the applicant, and where an agent is acting on behalf of the applicant, the name and address of that agent;
  • a certificate regarding the ownership of the proposal site and any agricultural tenants and the notification of these parties about the application;
  • where the application relates to national development or major development, a pre-application consultation report;
  • any fee payable under the Fees Regulations; and
  • where the application relates to the relaxation of conditions attached to a previous permission, under section 42 2, a statement to that effect.

3.10 The application must be in writing (which can include electronic format) and must give enough information to allow the planning authority to identify the previous grant of permission.

Applications for approval of matters specified in conditions

( Regulation 12)

3.11 These applications relate to conditions attached to planning permission in principle requiring the further approval, consent or agreement of the planning authority for any detailed aspect of the development. All such conditions will require to be the subject of such a formal application. However, there is no statutory limit on the number of such conditions which can be addressed in any one application. Neighbour notification and advertising where neighbour notification has not been carried out will continue to apply.

3.12 An application in this regard must:

  • be in writing (which can include electronic application - planning authorities may have a form for such applications);
  • identify the planning permission in principle to which it relates;
  • contain a description of the matter(s) to which it relates;
  • contain the name and address of the applicant and any agent acting on behalf of the applicant;
  • be accompanied by plans and drawings sufficient to describe the matter of the application where it involves the alteration or construction of buildings, other structures, roads or landscaping;
  • the appropriate fee payable under the Fees Regulations.


( Regulation 13)

3.13 All applicants, together with developers, architects, designers and agents, should consider design as an integral part of the development process. Ministers recognise the need to deliver inclusive environments that can be used by everyone, regardless of age, gender or disability. In addition to their duties as public bodies under disability discrimination legislation, the Scottish Ministers and planning authorities must perform their functions under the 1997 Act in a manner which encourages equal opportunities and in particular the observance of the equal opportunities requirements. Planning's important role in the delivery of inclusive environments is emphasised in the policy statement Designing Places and related advice in the design series of Planning Advice Notes.

3.14 Certain applications for planning permission are required to be accompanied by a statement explaining: the design principles and concepts that have been applied; and how issues relating to access for disabled people to the development have been dealt with.

3.15 The main aim of the statement is to inform the planning decision-making process. Statements should ensure development proposals are based on a carefully considered design process and where required, a sustainable approach to access. They should allow the applicant to explain and justify their proposals and help all those assessing the application (including elected members and communities) to understand the design rationale that underpins them.

Applications requiring design or design and access statements

3.16 Applications for planning permission for national and for major developments require design and access statements.

3.17 Applications for planning permission for local development within :

(a) a World Heritage Site;

(b) a conservation area;

(c) a historic garden or designed landscape;

(d) a National Scenic Area;

(e) the site of a scheduled monument; or

(f) the curtilage of a category A listed building.

will require a design statement unless the development comprises the alteration or extension of an existing building.

3.18 A design and access statement or design statement is not required for the following categories:

(a) an application for planning permission for development of land without complying with conditions subject to which a previous planning permission was granted (see the paragraphs on Further Applications above)

(b) an application for planning permission for-

(i) engineering or mining operations;

(ii) development of an existing dwelling-house, or development within the curtilage of such a dwelling-house for any purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the dwelling-house as such; or

(iii) a material change in the use of land or buildings, or

(c) an application for planning permission in principle 3.

3.19 Applications for marine fish farming development will only be required to be accompanied by a design statement where such applications involve development which is a local development in either a World Heritage Site, National Scenic Area or the site of a scheduled monument or which is a major development.

3.20 Applications for planning permission in principle do not need to be accompanied by a statement. In these circumstances, it will be for planning authorities to consider what, if any additional information is required to enable them to consider the application and to request further information.

Preparation of statements

3.21 In preparing any statement, applicants and their agents, developers, architects, designers and planning authorities should consider where appropriate the advice contained in Planning Advice Note 68: Design Statements.

3.22 A design statement is a written statement about the design principles and concepts that have been applied to the development and which-

(i) explains the policy or approach adopted as to design and how any policies relating to design in the development plan have been taken into account.

(ii) describes the steps taken to appraise the context of the development and demonstrates how the design of the development takes that context into account in relation to its proposed use.

(iii) states what, if any, consultation has been undertaken on issues relating to
the design principles and concepts that have been applied to the
development; and what account has been taken of the outcome of any such consultation.

3.23 Advice on the preparation of design statements is contained in PAN 68 and can assist in the preparation of the statement.

3.24 A design and access statement is a document containing both a design statement and written statement about how issues relating to access to the development for disabled people have been dealt with.

3.25 The statement must: Explain the policy or approach adopted as to access and how: (i) policies relating to such access in the development plan have been taken into account; and (ii) any specific issues which might affect access to the development for disabled people have been addressed. This should explain how the applicant's policy / approach adopted in relation to access fits into the design process. The statement should also reflect on any development plan policies relating to access issues.

3.26 Developers should consider setting out in the statement how access arrangements make provision both to and through the site to ensure users have equal and convenient access. Where Scottish Government policy relates to access, such as, for example, the number of parking spaces for disabled people, this may be referenced in the statement.

3.27 It is not intended that the statement extends to the consideration of internal aspects of individual buildings. This is a matter better considered under building standards legislation. However, the location and design of doors and windows, etc. will depend on an understanding of the internal layout of a building and may therefore be reflected in the statement.

3.28 The statement must: Describe how features which ensure access to the development for disabled people will be maintained. The publication Designing Places notes that the arrangements for long-term management and maintenance are as important as the actual design. Therefore, issues regarding maintenance will help inform the planning authority in coming to a view on how best, possibly through agreements or conditions, such features are to be maintained in the long-term.

3.29 The statement must: State what, if any, consultation has been undertaken on issues relating to access to the development for disabled people and what account has been taken of the outcome of any such consultation (see paragraphs 3.30 - 3.31 below).


3.30 There is no statutory requirement to undertake formal consultation as a part of the preparation of the statement. Where consultation has been undertaken, this must be included in the statement with an indication of how this has influenced the final proposal. The statement should indicate with whom consultation was undertaken - e.g. community groups, user groups or statutory consultees. PAN 78: Inclusive Design recognises that access panels are a useful source to consult on design, as they are able to give advice based on personal experience and local knowledge. A list of access panels is available from the website of the Scottish Disability Equality Forum ( www.sdef.org.uk).

3.31 PAC on national and major developments may also provide an opportunity to inform the design and access statement with the views of the community.

Presentation of information

3.32 Whilst required to be in writing, a statement can be presented in various formats. It can be on one or two pages, in a small booklet, an A4 or A3 document, a fold-out sheet, a display board or a CDROM. Within the parameters set by the 1997 Act and the DMR, it will be for the applicant to consider the most effective form of presentation. However, where both design and access are being considered then the statement should, where possible, be a single document. The precise form of a statement and the level of detail it contains will vary according to the size, nature and complexity of the proposed development. PAN 68 provides further advice.

Advice and guidance on access

3.33 The general principles set out in PAN 68 for the preparation of a design statement should be considered when a design and access statement is being prepared. Some guidance and advice is available within Scottish Government planning documents on how these issues should be addressed.

3.34 As the advice and guidance contained in these documents may be material considerations, developers, architects and designers should refer to these as appropriate.

Considering the content of the statement

3.35 The design of a proposed development and its relationship to its surroundings may be a material consideration. Where a design or design and access statement is required, the information within the statement may be material and in such cases must be taken into account by the planning authority when considering the proposed development.