Farm Diversification and Planning Permission in Scotland: guidance

Guidance on farm diversification and planning permission.

A Guide to Farm Diversification and Planning Permission in Scotland

How to Apply

Who can apply?

Anyone can apply for planning permission, whether or not they own property or land. However, if you are not the owner, or only have part ownership of your land, you will have to inform the owner or other part owners. Agricultural tenants must always be informed.

The planning application

The planning authority will provide the appropriate form and information on the fee required, which is not refunded if planning permission is refused or the application withdrawn.

You can apply for outline or full planning permission, you will need to decide which is appropriate for you. In most cases a full application will be the most appropriate.

You can get advice from your local planning authority on the level of detail needed in drawings for a full application.

An outline application will establish in principle whether a development is acceptable. The plan for an outline application simply needs to show the location and boundary of the application site. This will allow you to know if you will get planning permission, without going to the expense of preparing detailed drawings. Once outline permission is granted you will have to submit another application for approval of the details, known as 'reserved matters'. Submitting a full planning application from the outset will save time and money since a further application for reserved matters is not needed.

Neighbour notification

You will need to serve a notice on adjoining neighbours, along with a copy of your planning application before you submit your application to the planning authority. You must include a certificate with your planning application confirming that you have notified all your neighbours. Your planning authority will give you advice on who are classed as your neighbours and what to do when you cannot identify an owner or occupier.

What to send to the planning authority

This is clearly and simply set out in most planning application forms. You should send the following to the planning authority.

  • Up to 4 copies of the application form and plans.

  • A certificate confirming that you have notified the neighbours of your application.

  • A certificate confirming that you are the landowner or that you have informed the landowner or a leaseholder with at least7 years of a lease to run.

  • A certificate confirming that you have notified any agricultural tenant of the application.

  • The fee. The size of the fee is dependent on the type of applicatuion and scale of the development. Applications to develop or convert a building for one housing unit will normally be 210. Your planning authority will tell you the necessary fee.

The decision process

The planning authority normally makes a decision within 2 months; although decisions on complicated and controversial applications can take longer. The decision should be made in line with the council's development plan unless material considerations suggest otherwise. A 'material consideration' is a planning matter which is relevant to the application. This can include national planning policy considerations, comments by the public, organisations or people consulted, the design of the proposed development, vehicle access or the impact on the environment. The planning authority will decide how important these material considerations are.

Planning decisions on minor or straightforward applications are normally delegated to planning officials. The planning committee, which is made up of elected councillors, decides more significant or controversial applications.

The planning authority can:

  • grant permission without conditions;

  • grant permission with conditions; or

  • refuse permission.

What if I am Refused Permission or Don't Like the Conditions Imposed?

If you are refused permission you should talk again with the planning authority since changes to your proposal may overcome any objections. There is normally no additional fee to pay if you reapply within 12 months of the decision with a proposal on the same site that has changed only marginally. You also have the right to appeal the decision and any conditions to the Scottish Ministers. Appeals should be submitted to our Inquiry Reporter's Unit. You must make your appeal within six months of the planning authority's decision.

Other Consents

You may well need other consents depending on the nature of the project, for example a building warrant or road construction consent. Your local council can give you advice on what is needed. See the annex for further information.


Email: Central Enquiries Unit

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