Planning circular 3/2022: development management procedures

Circular 3/2022 provides guidance on the procedures governing applications for planning permission. It supersedes circular 3/2013.

This document is part of a collection

5. Post Decision Provisions

(Sections 27A, 27B, 27C and Regulations 40 and 41, Sections 61 to 62A and Sections 150 to 155)

Notification of Initiation of Development

(Sections 27A and regulation 40)

5.1 A person who intends to start development that has been granted planning permission (including planning permission in principle) must, once they have decided the date they will start work, inform the planning authority of that date as soon as is practicable and before starting work. There is no minimum period of notice.

5.2 When planning permission is granted for the development, the planning authority must notify the applicant of the requirement to submit the notice and of the fact that failure to do so would be a breach of planning control under section 123(1).

5.3 In addition to providing the date on which development is expected to commence, the applicant is required to submit other information specified in the DMR which may be useful to the planning authority, including:

  • The full name and address of the person intending to carry out the development;
  • The full name and address of the landowner if they are a different person;
  • The full name and address of any site agent appointed in respect of the development; and
  • The date of issue and the reference number of the planning permission.

5.4 It is not the intention that a notice of initiation of development be taken as a declaration that suspensive conditions have been met. However it does, insofar as it sets out a date on which development is intended to commence, provide to a planning authority an indication of the date by which suspensive conditions should be met. It would be for the planning authority on receipt of such a notice to consider whether any suspensive conditions were attached to the development and whether compliance with such conditions should be confirmed.

Failure to submit a notice of initiation of development

5.5 Failure to submit the notice before starting work is a breach of planning control. With regard to enforcement action, an informal approach is probably sufficient to result in a notice being submitted, albeit late. Planning authorities should also bear in mind whether any suspensive conditions may apply to the development, any breach of which might necessitate further or more formal action.

5.6 It is not a breach of planning control where a developer does not commence work on the exact date specified in the notice but at some point afterwards. There may be a number of reasons (not necessarily under the control of the developer) why work does not commence on the specified date.

Notification of Completion of Development

(Section 27B)

5.7 A person who completes a development for which planning permission (including planning permission in principle) has been given must, as soon as practicable after doing so, give notice of completion to the planning authority. Failure to comply is not in itself a breach of planning control under section 123(1). This applies where permission is given on or after 3 August 2009.

5.8 Planning permission for a phased development must include a condition that as soon as practicable after each phase, other than the last, is completed, the person carrying out the development is to give notice of that completion to the planning authority. The planning authority may take enforcement action if such a notice is not given. When the last phase is completed, the requirement to give notice of the completion of development applies.

Display of Notice While Development is Carried Out

(Section 27C and regulation 41)

5.9 For certain classes of development the developer must, for the duration of the development, display a sign or signs containing certain information. A notice would be required for any development that is either:

  • national development; or
  • major development; or
  • a development of a class specified in schedule 3 to the DMR.

5.10 The notice must be in the form in schedule 7 to the DMR and must be: displayed in a prominent place at or in the vicinity of the site of the development; readily visible to the public; and printed on durable material. It is a breach of planning control not to display such a notice.

5.11 The requirements under sections 27A, B and C apply to developments where planning permission was given on or after 3 August 2009.

Certificates of Lawful Use or Development

(Sections 150 to 155)

5.12 See Annex F of Circular 10/2009 on Planning Enforcement[32] for guidance on certificates of lawful use or development.

Termination of Planning Permission By Reference to Time Limit: Completion Notices

(Sections 61 – 62A)

5.13 Paragraphs 4.106 to 4.117 outline that planning permission is granted subject to a condition that the development to which the permission relates must be begun within a specified time period. The planning permission will lapse if the development has not been commenced before the expiry of the relevant period.

5.14 Where development does start within that period, the planning permission is effectively permanent. However, planning authorities can serve a "completion notice" in respect of uncompleted developments, which results in the relevant planning permission being withdrawn if it is not complied with. Such notices are distinct from, and should not be confused with, notifications of completion of development under section 27B Act described in paragraphs 5.7 and 5.8.

5.15 A completion notice can be served where a development:

  • has been commenced within the relevant time period but it has not been completed by the date on which the permission would otherwise have lapsed; and
  • the authority is of the opinion that it will not be completed within a reasonable period.

5.16 A completion notice must be served on any owner or occupier of the land to which the permission relates and any other person who in the opinion of the planning authority will be affected by the notice. Recipients of a notice have a right to lodge an objection with the planning authority. A completion notice must specify the date on which it will take effect if no objections are lodged, being not less than 28 days after it was served. If any objections are lodged within that period, the notice will not take effect unless it is confirmed by the Scottish Ministers.

5.17 If a completion notice takes effect, the relevant planning permission will become invalid following the expiration of a further period specified in the notice, which must be not less than 12 months (where Scottish Ministers confirm a completion notice they may extend the 'further period'). Planning permission is only withdrawn in respect of those parts of the development not completed by the end of the period specified in the notice; development carried out before the expiration of the relevant period will not be affected.

5.18 The procedures for serving a completion notice, and for lodging objections, are set out in sections 61, 62 and 62A.



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