Permitted development rights - phase 1 priority development types: consultation

Consultation on draft proposals for changes and extensions to Permitted Development Rights (PDR) in Scotland for the priority development types selected for inclusion in Phase 1 of our programme. Consultation closes on 12 November 2020.

7. Development Related to Active Travel

Existing Permitted Development Rights

7.1 Active travel means cycling, walking and wheeling and includes the use of bikes, adaptive bikes, wheelchairs and mobility scooters for everyday journeys. Added to this is the growing popularity of e-bikes, bicycles with an electric motor. E-bikes are regulated under the Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles Regulations 1983; regulation 4 includes restrictions on weight and the output of the motor and restricts the speed of an e-bike, under propulsion by a motor, to 15 miles an hour. E-bikes can be used on roads and cycle routes.

7.2 One positive experience of the lockdown earlier this year has been the increase in active travel and we want to take steps to lock in these changes and provide more people with the opportunity to benefit from walking and cycling. The changes to PDR proposed here are aimed at encouraging the use of bikes as a means of travel, as part of Scotland's strategy to achieve its net zero greenhouse gases emission target, and in improving health in support of the Active Scotland Delivery Plan.

7.3 Councils already have the right, under the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984 and class 31 of the General Permitted Development Order (GPDO) to undertake road-related development on the road carriageway, on adopted footpaths and on road verges without planning permission. The definition of a road, under the Roads Act, is "any way (other than a waterway) over which there is a public right of passage (by whatever means and whether subject to a toll or not) and includes the road's verge, and any bridge (whether permanent or temporary) over which, or tunnel through which, the road passes".

7.4 Councils, as Roads authorities, also have PDR for the erection of and changes to street furniture. Planning permission is therefore not required for councils to:

  • form new cycle paths or footpaths on the existing road carriageway or verge;
  • form dedicated cycle lanes, by painting on roads or separating by a raised kerb, or by painting on adopted footpaths;
  • form raised crossings on road carriageways;
  • construct traffic islands;
  • form pedestrian and 'toucan' crossings (for pedestrians and cyclists);
  • provide lighting on adopted footpaths; or
  • provide EV charging points built into existing street furniture, such as lampposts.

7.5 Class 31 of the GPDO also gives permission 'on land outside but adjoining the boundary of an existing road of works required for or incidental to the maintenance or improvement of the road' which provides for the formation of a cycle path or footpath outwith the carriageway but in the verge. In other circumstances, planning permission is required for the formation of a new road, footpath or cycle path. It can be unclear, given the wording of class 31, when a new footpath or cycle path can be formed without having to apply for planning permission, and we will give consideration to whether that uncertainty can be removed through amendments to definitions in the GPDO and/or through guidance.

7.6 We do not propose any changes to existing permitted development rights for works within the road carriageway and verge.

7.7 The creation of new walking and cycling routes remote from existing roads and footpaths does require planning permission, though existing PDR allow for the replacement and/or improvement of the surface of established paths. Given the need for scrutiny of the impacts of proposed new routes outwith the road boundary we do not propose to introduce PDR for the formation of new footpaths or cycle paths away from existing roads.

7.8 Householders in detached, semi-detached and terraced houses already have extensive PDR for the erection of storage sheds large enough for bikes and mobility scooters, as long as the sheds are not in front of the principal elevation (i.e. to the rear or side of the house, as long as the side of the house does not front a road). However, the same PDR does not apply to other types of residential property.

7.9 Planning permission is currently required for storage sheds to the front of a house, or to the side of a house if the side fronts a road. In a conservation area, a shed with a floorspace of more than four metres also needs consent, even in the rear or side garden. Listed building consent will also be required if a storage shed adjacent to a listed building would affect the character of the listed building.

Proposals for extensions to PDR for storage sheds/structures for bicycles

7.10 In order to encourage ownership and use of bicycles, and to give all householders the right to erect external storage for cycles and scooters in a convenient location, it is proposed to extend PDR to give all householders the right to erect bicycle/scooter stores to the front of their properties. It is also proposed to extend the same rights to owners of flats with a private garden space, and to allow flatted properties with private garden space to erect communal storage sheds within the curtilage of the flat block. Care will need to be taken to ensure that storage sheds erected under this amendment do not block the view of drivers on the road or exiting from their driveways.

7.11 It is proposed to extend the same PDR to houses and flats in conservation areas, perhaps with additional control over materials. It is also proposed to increase the floorspace restriction of four square metres for sheds in the rear gardens of houses in conservation areas to eight square metres, to allow for the storage of adaptive bikes and bike trailers as well as bikes and mobility scooters.

7.12 In order to give residents of flats without a private external garden area the right to secure ground level storage of bikes, it is proposed to introduce PDR for communal bike storage sheds (hangars) in public places.

7.13 E-bikes are significantly heavier than pedal bikes, so these proposals should help facilitate the ownership and use of e-bikes. Charging points for e-bikes are not being considered as part of this consultation, as many e-bikes have removable batteries, negating the need for a dedicated charging point. In any case, the addition of a power supply to a bike store would not require planning permission, so the storage solutions suggested above would also allow for the charging of e-bikes which do not have a removable battery. Extending PDR to allow charging points for e-bikes will be considered alongside new PDR for EV charging stations for cars, in Phase 2 of our programme.


7.14 Specialist bicycle and scooter storage structures are widely available, in a variety of materials and sizes. Individual storage sheds, which will hold a mobility scooter or up to four bikes, can measure as little as 1.2 metres in height, 2 metres in width and 1 metre in depth. A secure cycle or scooter store could therefore be as little as 200 mm higher than a one metre fence, which is allowed under existing permitted development rights.

7.15 Allowing householders to erect or site a cycle store of these dimensions in the front garden would not, it is considered, give rise to a significant impact on residential and visual amenity – though it is proposed that finishing materials for the stores in conservation areas should be restricted to timber and that sheds would not be permitted if they would compromise traffic and pedestrian safety by blocking a sightline. Preliminary research suggests that most applications of this sort are approved under the current regulations.

Q.60 Do you agree with the proposal to allow the erection of a cycle store in the front or side garden of a house up to a maximum size of 1.2 m height, 2 m width and 1.5 m depth?

If you disagree please explain why.

7.16 Houses in conservation areas have existing PDR to erect a storage shed of up to four square metres floorspace to the rear of the property. It is proposed to increase this floorspace limit to eight square metres to facilitate the storage of adaptive bikes, bikes with trailers and mobility scooters. It is also proposed to allow the construction of bicycle stores up to a maximum size of 1.2 metres in height, 2 metres in width and 1 metre in depth in the front or side gardens of houses in conservation areas,.

Q.61 Do you agree with the proposal to permit cycle stores up to 1.2 metres in height, 2 metres in width and 1 metre in depth in the front or side garden of a house in a conservation area?.

If you disagree please explain why.

Q.62 Should such an extension to PDR should be subject to a restriction on materials?

Please explain your answer

Q.63 Do you agree with the proposal to increase the floorspace of storage sheds allowed in the rear garden of houses in conservation areas to eight square metres?

If you do not agree please explain why.


7.17 Some ground floor flats and cottage flats have a private, allocated garden space. There is currently no PDR for the erection of a storage shed in the curtilage of any flatted development, including flats with their own garden area. It is proposed to extend the PDR for bike storage sheds (up to the same maximum dimensions as for houses) to flats which have an allocated garden area, including in a conservation area.

Q.64 Do you agree with the introduction of PDR for the erection of a cycle store in the private garden area of a flat, including in a conservation area?

If you disagree please explain why.

7.18 Most modern blocks of flats will have a parking court and communal spaces, which will often have sufficient space to allow for the construction of a communal, secure cycle store without affecting the parking area. If this is not the case, and the erection of a cycle store would necessitate the removal of some parking spaces, the residents of the flats – the co-owners of the parking court in most cases – would need to agree to the loss of these spaces. A typical cycle store, which can hold up to six bikes, would take up half a traditional car parking space, and would be about 1.5 metres in height. If the cycle store is sited in or adjacent to the parking court, we consider that it would be unlikely to have a detrimental impact on the amenity of the surrounding area.

7.19 Traditional Scottish tenement buildings with a common close generally have a communal drying green, also in common ownership (some accessed via a lane at the rear of the flats) which is used for bin storage and collection. In these cases, a communal store at the rear of the building, in the common backcourt area, would normally be private to the residents of the block, and not visible from the street. Again, we consider that the erection of a communal bike hangar in such circumstances would not be likely to have an impact on visual or residential amenity.

7.20 Communal bike/mobility scooter storage for larger blocks of flats would by necessity be larger than cycle/scooter sheds which serve individual houses; for this reason, it is proposed to restrict PDR to the rear of blocks of flats.

7.21 We propose to introduce PDR to give flatted developments the right to erect a cycle store in the rear parking court or backcourt of a flatted block, of sufficient size to store two bikes per flat, including in conservation areas.

Q.65 Do you agree with the proposal to allow cycle stores sufficient to accommodate up to two bikes per flat to the rear of larger blocks of flats, including in conservation areas?

If you disagree please explain why.

Offices, commercial and industrial buildings (classes 4, 5 and 6 of the Use Classes Order)

7.22 Offices with car parks will generally have sufficient space to erect a cycle shelter for employees and, where not, the loss of a small number of car parking spaces to accommodate a communal shelter is considered to be acceptable, as long as the spaces affected are not for disabled drivers. We therefore propose to introduce PDR for secure, communal cycle stores in the curtilage of offices, commercial and industrial buildings of a size suitable to accommodate a number of bikes proportionate to the floorspace of the office.

Q.66 Do you agree with the introduction of PDR to allow the erection of cycle stores for buildings of class 4, 5 and 6 uses?

If you disagree please explain why.

Other Locations

7.23 Many railway stations and shopping centres already provide some bike parking facilities, in the form of Sheffield type racks, which do not currently require planning permission. Secure, covered cycle storage at public locations, which does require planning permission, would undoubtedly encourage the use of bicycles and e-bikes, and could in many cases be successfully integrated into the urban environment.

7.24 For example, Edinburgh has recently sited secure communal bike hangars on the street in built up parts of the city where local residents who live in flats do not have easy access to secure storage. The hangars are metal and each holds up to six bikes and measure 1.36 metres in height, 2.55 metres in length and 2 metres in depth. Each takes up approximately half a car parking space.

7.25 We propose to introduce PDR for the siting of up to four cycle stores of up to 1.36 metres in height, 2.55 metres in length and 2 metres in depth within a street block of 100 metres length in public places. The cycle stores should ideally be placed on the road carriageway (replacing car parking spaces other than disabled parking spaces as necessary) and should not reduce the width of the public footpath.

Q.67 Do you agree with the introduction of PDR to allow the erection of cycle stores on-streets?

If you disagree please explain why.

Q.68 If such PDR is introduced, do you agree with the proposed maximum size for the cycle stores, and the proposed restriction on the number allowed in a particular street or block?

If you disagree please explain why.

Q.69 If such PDR is introduced, do you think it should it be allowed in conservation areas and, if so, should it be subject to any other limitations on size, materials etc?

If you disagree please explain why.

Q.70 Is there any other amendment to the General Permitted Development Order that you think we should consider in order to encourage active travel further?



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