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A Guide to Planning Appeals in Scotland


2 What cannot be appealed to Scottish Ministers?

Local reviews

Having the right to challenge a decision on a planning application does not always mean making an appeal to the Scottish Ministers. When a proposal is for a fairly small-scale 'local development' - and it falls under the council's 'scheme of delegation' for local developments - the responsibility to decide the planning application sits with a council official, rather than elected councillors. In those cases, the council official's decision can be challenged by the person who made the application by requesting a review by the council's local review body, and not by making an appeal to the Scottish Ministers. The local review body is made up of a group of three or more elected members of the council.

The council's decision notice and other letters about the application will make it clear whether the right to challenge the decision is by local review or by appeal to Ministers. Information about the scheme of delegation, or about requesting a local review, can be obtained from the council.

There is one exception, where a local review case can later be appealed to the Scottish Ministers:

  • if an applicant asked for a local review because the council official had not decided the planning application within 2 months;


  • the local review body then also failed to make a decision within a further 3 months;

then that applicant can make an appeal to Ministers.