Publication - Consultation analysis

Permitted Development Rights (PDR) - review and extension: consultation analysis

Analysis of responses to a public consultation on phase 1 of the Scottish Government’s programme to review and extend Permitted Development Rights (PDR).

143 page PDF

2.4 MB

143 page PDF

2.4 MB

Contents
Permitted Development Rights (PDR) - review and extension: consultation analysis
Executive Summary

143 page PDF

2.4 MB

Executive Summary

This report presents analysis of responses to a public consultation on phase 1 of the Scottish Government’s programme to review and extend Permitted Development Rights (PDR). The consultation sought views proposals for changes and extensions to PDR for four development types: digital telecommunications infrastructure, agricultural developments, peatland restoration, and developments relating to active travel. The final number of submissions received was 119, of which 61 were from groups or organisations and 58 from individual members of the public.

Digital Telecoms Infrastructure

Proposals for the extension of PDR for digital telecoms infrastructure related to existing and replacement ground-based masts, antennas and small cell systems, equipment housing cabinets and other equipment on buildings, and underground equipment. A total of 42 respondents answered questions relating to these proposals.

Ground-based masts. In relation to new ground-based masts, 77% of those answering agreed with proposals to increase the permitted height to 30 metres outside designated areas. In relation to existing ground-based masts, views were divided on proposals to increase the permitted height to 30 metres or a 50% increase on the original mast (52% agreed, 48% disagreed), most (64%) disagreed with proposals to allow existing masts of more than 30 metres to be increased up to 50 metres, and views were divided on proposals to allow existing masts of more than 50 metres to be increased by up to 20% (56% agreed and 44% disagreed). Views were also divided on proposals to permit an increase in the width of existing masts of up to 2 metres or 50% of the original width (56% agreed and 44% disagreed). The majority (71%) of respondents agreed with proposals for any height or width increase within a designated area to be subject to prior notification/prior approval.

Replacement masts. A large majority (88%) of respondents agreed with proposals to increase the maximum distance that replacement masts may be from their original location from 6 metres to 10 metres, outside designated areas. A similarly large majority (89%) agreed with proposals to retain the current 6 metre limit in designated areas.

Mitigating potential impacts on safeguarded sites. All of those answering the question agreed with proposals to retain the current approach to new or modified masts on safeguarding sites, including requirements to notify the relevant body.

Antenna Systems. A large majority (83%) of respondents agreed with proposals for PDR for antenna systems on buildings outside designated areas. Views were divided on proposals to extend this PDR to all or some designated areas (44% agreed and 56% disagreed). If PDR were to be extended to designated areas, respondents suggested a number of potential controls. These included prior notification/ prior approval (although some felt that prior notification alone would not offer sufficient protection), allowing PDR only where apparatus has been previously installed, and ensuring that Listed Buildings Consent supersedes any PDR. Conservation Areas, World Heritage Sites and Category A listed buildings and scheduled monuments were identified as being in particular need of additional protections.

Small Cell Systems. A large majority (91%) of respondents agreed with proposals to extend PDR to small cell systems on dwellinghouses (in addition to PDR for small antennas). Respondents made a number of suggestions for limits on PDR for small cell systems, the most common being that these should be in line with existing PDR for small antenna on dwellinghouses. Some respondents also suggested additional controls for small cell systems in designated areas, primarily relating to the size of apparatus, the number of apparatus on a building, and placement of apparatus (i.e. not on primary elevations). The most common control mechanism suggested was prior notification/ prior approval, although some expressed concerns about the resources required to support this process, and whether it would limit the benefits of PDR in terms of achieving a more efficient planning system.

Equipment housing cabinets. Views were divided on proposals to extend existing PDR in designated areas to allow new equipment housing up to 2.5 cubic metres; for ground-based cabinets 50% agreed and 50% disagreed, for cabinets on buildings 54% agreed and 46% disagreed. Most respondents agreed that any PDR for equipment housing in designated areas should be subject to prior notification/ prior approval; 70% agreed for ground-based cabinets and 73% agreed for cabinets on buildings.

Other apparatus on buildings. Views were divided on proposals for PDR for other apparatus to be extended to designated areas, beyond the current ‘like for like’ permission (46% agreed and 54% disagreed). Most respondents (60%) agreed that any new PDR for other apparatus in designated areas should be subject to limits and restrictions, and most (68%) agreed that any such PDR should be subject to prior notification/ prior approval.

Underground equipment. Respondents suggested a number of designated areas where they considered that PDR for underground development could be extended. These suggestions were conservation areas, National Scenic Areas, National Parks, World Heritage Sites, Category A listed buildings and scheduled monuments, and historic gardens and designed landscapes. Suggestions for designated areas where it was felt that PDR cannot be extended were World Heritage Sites, historic gardens and designed landscape, natural heritage and habitat sites such as SSSIs and European Sites, scheduled monuments and Class A listed buildings, and scheduled monuments and historic battlefields.

Agricultural Developments

Proposals for the extension of PDR for agricultural developments related to larger agricultural buildings, conversion of agricultural buildings to residential or flexible commercial use, and conversion of forestry buildings, and included proposals to clarify the planning status of polytunnels. A total of 48 respondents answered questions relating to these proposals.

Larger agricultural buildings. The majority (75%) of respondents agreed with proposals to increase the maximum ground area of agricultural buildings that may be constructed under Class 18 PDR. A large majority (90%) agreed with the retention of other existing conditions and limitations on Class 18 PDR. The majority (70%) of respondents disagreed with the increased size limit being applied in designated areas. Most respondents (69%) agreed with proposals to increase the size of extension or alteration permitted for agricultural or forestry buildings without prior approval. Views were divided on proposals to discourage developers from erecting new agricultural buildings for the sole purpose of future conversion (47% agreed and 53% disagreed).

Conversion of agricultural buildings to residential use. The majority (73%) of respondents disagreed with PDR for conversion of agricultural buildings to residential use. Views were divided on whether any such PDR should be subject to prior notification/ prior approval (54% agreed and 46% disagreed), and most (65%) disagreed with the proposed range of matters to be considered by this process. The majority (71%) disagreed with the proposed maximum number and size of residential units that may be developer under the PDR, and a large majority (89%) agreed with proposed protection for listed buildings and scheduled monuments. Views were divided on proposed measures to discourage developers from erecting new buildings for the sole purpose of converting them for residential use (58% agreed and 42% disagreed).

Conversion of agricultural buildings to flexible commercial use. Views were divided on the proposed new PDR for conversion of agricultural buildings to flexible commercial use (43% agreed and 57% disagreed), and on the proposed cumulative maximum floorspace for change of use (47% agreed and 53% disagreed). Views were also divided on proposals for the new PDR to be subject to a prior notification/ prior approval process where the floorspace changing use exceeds 150sqm (52% agreed and 48% disagreed), and with the proposed range of matters to be considered by this process (42% agreed and 58% disagreed). The great majority (96%) of respondents agreed with the proposed protection for listed buildings and scheduled monuments. Most respondents (61%) agreed with proposed measures to discourage developers from erecting new buildings for the sole purpose of converting them to commercial use.

Conversion of Forestry Buildings. Views were divided on proposals to take forward separate PDR for the conversion of forestry buildings to residential and commercial uses (45% agreed and 55% disagreed). Most respondents (61%) disagreed with proposals for the PDR to be subject to the same conditions and limits proposed for conversion of agricultural buildings.

Polytunnels. A large majority of respondents (89%) agreed with the proposed approach to providing greater clarity as to the planning status of polytunnels.

Peatland Restoration

Proposals relating to PDR for peatland restoration were intended to provide clarity on the planning position for peatland restoration projects, with questions focused on definitions, the basic grant of planning permission, and restrictions and conditions that apply. A total of 33 respondents answered questions relating to these proposals.

General approach and defining PDR for Peatland Restoration. A large majority (96%) agreed with the proposed general approach, and a large majority (83%) agreed with this approach relying on a general understanding of what will constitute peatland. Most (68%) agreed with a blanket PDR for ‘peatland restoration’.

Conditions and restrictions on PDR for Peatland Restoration. Most respondents (63%) agreed that there is no need for additional controls on PDR for peatland restoration projects in designated areas, as they will likely be subject to oversight from Peatland Action or validation under the Peatland Code. Most (61%) agreed that there should be PDR for new temporary access tracks as necessary to carry out peatland restoration projects, and most (61%) agreed that PDR should only apply to projects approved for Scottish Government funds. A large majority (80%) agreed that PDR should allow for the transfer of peat within the restoration site and for peat to be brought into the site, and a large majority (96%) also agreed that the PDR should not permit extraction of peat outside the restoration site or for removal of peat from the site.

Development Related to Active Travel

Proposals relating to active travel focused on the extension of PDR for storage sheds/structures for bikes in the front or side gardens of domestic properties, in private gardens of flats and within the grounds of offices, commercial and industrial buildings. A total of 86 respondents answered questions relating to these proposals.

Storage for bicycles: houses. The majority (72%) of respondents agreed with proposals to allow the erection of a cycle store (up to 1.2m height, 2m width and 1.5m depth) in the front or side garden of a house. Views were divided on proposals to permit cycle stores up to 1.2m height, 2m width and 1m depth in conservation areas (55% agreed and 45% disagreed). Most respondents (68%) disagreed that any such extension of PDR in conservation areas should be subject to a restriction on materials. A large majority (88%) agreed with proposals to increase the permitted floorspace of storage sheds allowed in the rear garden of houses in conservation areas.

Storage for bicycles: flats. A large majority (87%) of respondents agreed with proposals to allow the erection of a cycle store in the private garden area of a flat, including in conservation areas. The majority (77%) of respondents agreed with proposals to permit cycle stores sufficient to accommodate two bikes per flat to the rear of larger blocks of flats, including in conservation areas.

Storage for bicycles: other locations. The great majority (95%) of respondents agreed with PDR for the erection of cycle stores for offices, commercial and industrial buildings. A large majority (88%) agreed with PDR for the erection of cycle stores on streets. Views were divided on proposed restrictions to the size and number of on-street cycle stores (51% agreed and 49% disagreed). The majority of respondents (70%) agreed with PDR for on-street cycle stores being allowed in conservation areas.

SEA and Assessment of Impacts

The final section of the consultation sought views on the Update to the 2019 Sustainability Appraisal, incorporating additional assessment of Phase 1 proposals, on the partial and draft impact assessments accompanying the proposals, and asked for any additional information sources that could inform the final impact assessments.

Seven respondents provided comment on the Update to the 2019 Sustainability Appraisal. This included suggestions that the Update is missing crucial assessment of potential cumulative, secondary or synergistic effects, and lacked the level of detail presented in the 2019 Sustainability Appraisal. Some also suggested that a substantial range of queried 2019 findings remained unchanged, and wished to see an explanation of how it was concluded that the original 2019 findings remained appropriate.

Nine respondents provided comment on the partial and draft impact assessments. In relation to the Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA), there were concerns that the cost/benefit assessment does not take account of proposals for some development types to still be subject to prior notification/ prior approval processes. This included concern that the reduction in fee income would increase cost pressures and is contrary to Scottish Government aspirations that local authorities move to full cost recovery. In relation to the Fairer Scotland Duty Assessment, it was suggested that proposals for PDR for agricultural development represent a significant shift away from a plan-led approach to managing rural development, and concerns were expressed that prior notification/ prior approval would be insufficient to ensure proper scrutiny.


Contact

Email: Planning.PDRphase1consultation2020@gov.scot