Housing development planning permission appeals: EIR release

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.

Information requested

What percentage of appeals brought by developers, in respect of appeals concerning ‘10 houses or more’, where local councils have refused planning permission in the past three years, have been upheld by the reporter?

What percentage of appeals, where the reporter has found in favour of the developer, have assigned costs to the developer and their legal teams. On average, how much is paid per claim?

What percentage of appeal cases concerning housing developments of 10 houses or over that have been assigned to a particular reporter – Mr Robert Maslin – have been decided in favour of the party appealing a decision made by a council. If possible the data should be provided for the last 5 years.


Q1 : 105 relevant appeals were decided upon in the period requested (past 3 years) 36 (34%) were allowed and 69 (66%) were dismissed.

Q2 : With regard to those appeals allowed by the reporter, 13 developers had submitted claims for expenses. The reporter made awards of expenses in three of these cases and the decision on one of these claims has not yet been made. Therefore of the 12 decided claims, 25% were successful.

In terms of your question regarding the average amount of expenses paid, while our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. Therefore we are refusing your request under the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs. 

The reasons why that exception applies is that Scottish Ministers (DPEA) do not themselves determine the amount of expenses payable. The party awarded expenses should in the first instance submit details of their expenses to the other party with a view to reaching agreement on the amount. If they are unable to reach agreement the party awarded expenses can refer the case to the Auditor of Court of Session who will deal with the matter.

If it may help further to explain that in planning proceedings the general principle is that parties will be expected to bear their own costs and that it is only where a party has behaved unreasonably and this has resulted in unnecessary expense that an award of expenses, in full or in part, will be made.

See below Circular 6/1990 Awards and Expenses in appeals and other planning proceedings and in compulsory purchase order inquiries, which explains more fully what conditions must be met to make a claim for expenses as well as examples of unreasonable behaviour which may lead to an award of expenses.


Q3 : For the period of 10/5/14 to 10/5/19 (past five years) Mr Robert Maslin has been appointed to determine 4 appeal cases concerning 10 houses or more. Mr Maslin dismissed all 4 cases (these were not allowed).

Turning to your previous request dated 1 May 2019, for information in respect of the reporter’s visit to the site of appeal reference PPA-110-2372. 

Whilst Mr Maslin does not keep detailed records of individual site inspections he explains the extent and scope of his considerations in respect of aspects of his inspection of the site throughout his decision notice. For example paragraph 100 states : “I visited Muchalls and walked the core path between Muchalls and Newtonhill”. Paragraphs 21 and 84 amongst others also explain further.

More specifically however, I can confirm that the reporter’s visit to the site in this case took place on 18 March 2019. He arrived at Newtonhill at 11 am and concluded his inspection at 4 pm. The reporter walked across and around the site itself and walked from the site to Muchalls and back again. He viewed the site from several different viewpoints including from Muchalls and from the A92. He also visited other parts of Newtonhill, including the allotments, the Bettridge Centre, the public open space on Newtonhill road, the shops, the primary school and the old village at the foot of Skateraw Road and Chapelton.

The purpose of the site inspection is to allow the reporter to see the site for themselves and identify any issues that may arise as a result of the proposal before them. I can confirm that the reporter prior to his site inspection had a clear understanding of the main issues raised by the parties and understood fully the relevance to the proposal. You will appreciate that each appeal is dealt with solely on its own merits and that the length of time taken at a site inspection will be largely dependent on the circumstances of each case, the reporter spending enough time on his visit to ensure that he had sufficient information about the site and its surroundings to enable him to reach his conclusions.

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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