Publication - Advice and guidance

Planning Circular 3/2012: Planning obligations and good neighbour agreements

Published: 14 Dec 2012

Policy relating to planning obligations and good neighbour agreements.

21 page PDF

249.6 kB

21 page PDF

249.6 kB

Planning Circular 3/2012: Planning obligations and good neighbour agreements

21 page PDF

249.6 kB


General principles

54. The provisions in the primary legislation and regulations in respect of GNAs broadly follow a similar approach to those set out for planning obligations, although there are a number of significant differences.

Parties to a GNA

55. A GNA is entered into between a person, for example a landowner or developer, and a community body (as opposed to a planning authority). A community body is defined (section 75D of the 1997 Act as amended) as being either:

  • the community council for the area in which the land in question (or any part of that land) is situated; or,
  • a body or trust whose members or trustees have a substantial connection to the land in question and whose object or function is to preserve or enhance the amenity of the local area where the land is situated.

56. In the case of a body or trust, other than a community council, the body must be recognised (and notified) by the planning authority as meeting the criteria set out in the second bullet point above.

57. There is no provision in the legislation for any person to propose or enter into a unilateral GNA.

Scope of a GNA

58. Section 75D (1) sets out that a GNA may govern 'operations or activities relating to the development or use of land, either permanently or during such period as may be specified in the agreement'. A GNA may make provision, for example, that information is provided to the community body regarding the nature and progress of development on a site. It should be stressed, however, that a GNA may not require any payment of monies.

59. As with a planning obligation, a GNA (to which an owner of the land is a party) may be registered in the Land Register of Scotland or the General Register of Sasines, making it enforceable against future owners or occupiers of the land.

60. A GNA should not be viewed as an alternative to a planning obligation. A planning authority should not seek to make it a requirement for the grant of planning permission that a GNA be put in place.


Email: Lorna Aird