Publication - Statistics

Planning Performance Statistics 2020/21: Annual

Published: 20 Jul 2021

Summary statistics on planning application decision-making timescales for 2020/21 with historic data going back to 2012/13. It is based on data collected by the Scottish Government from Local and Planning Authorities as part of the Planning Performance Framework (introduced in 2012).

Planning Performance Statistics 2020/21: Annual
2. Annual Trends – Local Developments (excludes legacy cases)

2. Annual Trends – Local Developments (excludes legacy cases)

Local developments include applications for changes to individual houses and smaller developments for new housing as well as applications covering areas of development such as minerals, business & industry, waste management, electricity generation, freshwater fish farming, marine finfish farming, marine shellfish farming, telecommunications, Approval of Matters Specified in Conditions (AMSCs) and other developments.

Some local developments are subject to Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs). Detailed results for these developments are not included here and instead are reported separately in the detailed tables. In 2020/21 20 local development applications subject to EIAs were decided including one legacy case.

Some local authorities use processing agreements where the developer and the local authority agree on timescales for decisions. When an application is subject to a processing agreement it is not included in average decision time calculations.

Legacy cases validated before 3rd August 2009 are not included in the figures but are reported separately in Section 11. Figures including legacy cases were reported up to and including 2016/17 and are available in previous publications.

This section presents annual information on numbers of applications and average timescales across all local developments along with separate figures for key categories. Details for all categories of development are available in detailed excel tables which can be found in the supporting files for this publication on the Planning Authority Performance Statistics Section on the Planning Publications web page.

During the year 2020/21 there was a Total of 1,542 local development decisions not subject to processing agreements where the clock had been stopped at some point within the application process (7.0% of all local development decisions not subject to processing agreements). On average 13.0 weeks has been removed from the decision times for these applications, and this will have had an effect on overall average decision times. See Section 12 for further details on the use of clock stops.

The number of applications detemined and the decision times were impacted on by restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Further information about the impacts is available in Section 1.2.

2.1. All Local Developments

There were 24,448 local development applications decided in 2020/21, 2,137 fewer than the previous year. The 21,897 not subject to processing agreements had an average decision time of 10.0 weeks, almost a week slower than the 9.1 weeks for the previous year. Prior to this year the average decision time for local developments had varied by less than two days over the previous four years and has remained between nine and ten weeks since 2015/16.

67.8% of local applications not subject to processing agreements were determined within two months, a drop of just over six percentage points since 2019/20.

Chart 1: All Local Developments
Chart showing annual trends since 2012/13 in number of applications determined and average decision times for all local developments

A number of applications were concluded that were subject to processing agreements, these are not included in average time calculations. In 2020/21 there were 2,551 local development applications with processing agreements, 74.4% (1,897) met agreed timescales that had been set between developers and local authorities. Applications with processing agreements accounted for 10.4% of all Local Developments decisions made in 2020/21, a marked increase from 7.5% in 2019/20. A number of authorities reported increased use of processing agreements as part of measures to manage the impact of COVID-19 restrictions and delays.

There were also two local pre 3rd August 2009 legacy cases concluded. Further details about legacy cases are in Section 11.

Chart 2: All Local Developments: Percentage under two months
Chart showing annual trend since 2012/13 of percentage of applications determined within two months for all local developments

2.2. Local Non-Householder Developments

This can include applications for smaller developments for new housing as well as applications covering areas of development such as minerals, business and industry, waste management, electricity generation, freshwater fish farming, marine finfish farming, marine shellfish farming, telecommunications, Approval of Matters Specified in Conditions (AMSCs) and other developments.

There were 11,342 local non-householder applications in 2020/21, 2,285 fewer than the previous year. The 9,738 not subject to processing agreements had an average decision time of 12.4 weeks, a week and a half slower than the previous year.

The percentage of local non-householder applications not subject to processing agreements determined within two months was 56.1%, a drop from 63.3% in the previous year.

A number of applications were concluded that were subject to processing agreements. In 2020/21 there were 1,604 local non-householder development applications with processing agreements, 70.9% (1,137) of these met agreed timescales that had been set between developers and local authorities.

There were also two local pre 3rd August 2009 legacy cases concluded. Further details about legacy cases are in Section 11.

Chart 3: Local Non-Householder Developments
Chart showing annual trends since 2012/13 in number of applications determined and average decision times for local non-householder applications
Chart 4: Local Non-Householder Developments: Percentage under two months
Chart showing annual trend since 2012/13 of percentage of applications determined within two months for local non-householder applications

2.3. Householder Developments

These include all applications for development in the curtilage of a residential property which are not change of use, for example: extensions, alterations to garages, swimming pools, walls, fences, driveways or porches.

There were 13,106 householder applications in 2020/21, 148 more than the previous year. This is the first annual increase in the number of householder applications determined since 2014/15.

The 12,159 not subject to processing agreements had an average decision time of 8.1 weeks, slower than the 7.3 weeks for the previous year and the slowest since the start of this data collection in 2012/13.

947 householder applications with processing agreements were determined, 80.3% (760) of these met agreed timescales that had been set between developers and local authorities.

The percentage of householder applications not subject to processing agreements determined within two months was 77.1%, a drop from 84.7% in the previous year.

Chart 5: Householder Developments
Chart showing annual trends since 2012/13 in number of applications determined and average decision times for  Householder applications
Chart 6: Householder Developments: Percentage under two months
Chart showing annual trend since 2012/13 of percentage of applications determined within two months for householder applications

2.4. Local Housing Developments

Local Housing developments are those that have less than 50 dwellings and a site area that is less than 2 hectares.

There were 4,172 local housing applications in 2020/21, 590 fewer than the previous year. The 3,476 not subject to processing agreements had an average decision time of 14.2 weeks almost two weeks slower than the previous year.

The average decision time was influenced by a number of applications with long decision times including 99 taking more than a year. Two of these took more than five years with decision times of 6.6 and 9.6 years.

696 local housing applications with processing agreements were determined, 70.0% (487) of these met agreed timescales that had been set between developers and local authorities.

Chart 7: Local Housing Developments
Chart showing annual trends since 2012/13 in number of applications determined and average decision times for  local housing applications

The percentage of local housing applications not subject to processing agreements determined within two months was 49.5%, a drop from 55.8% in the previous year.

There were also two Local Housing pre 3rd August 2009 legacy cases concluded. Further details about legacy cases are in Section 11.

Chart 8: Local Housing Developments: Percentage under two months
Chart showing annual trend since 2012/13 of percentage of applications determined within two months for local housing applications

2.5. Local Business and Industry Developments

Business and Industry developments include construction of a building or structure for any of the following: use as an office, for research and development of products or processes, for any industrial process or for use for storage or as a distribution centre.

To be classed as local the gross floor space as a result of the development must not exceed 10,000 square metres and the site area less than 2 hectares.

There were 1,407 local business and industry applications in 2020/21, 13 more than the previous year. This was the first annual increase in the number of local business and industry applications since the start of this data collection in 2012/13. The 1,239 not subject to processing agreements had an average decision time of 10.6 weeks, four days slower than the previous year.

Chart 9: Local Business and Developments: Number of decisions Industry
Chart showing annual trends since 2012/13 in number of applications determined and average decision times for  local business and industry applications

168 local business and industry applications with processing agreements were determined, 71.4% (120) of these met agreed timescales that had been set between developers and local authorities.

The percentage of local business and industry applications not subject to processing agreements determined within two months was 62.2% a drop froom 68.2% in the previous year.

Chart 10: Local Business and Industry Developments: Percentage under two months
Chart showing annual trend since 2012/13 of percentage of applications determined within two months for local business and industry applications

2.6. Local Electricity Generation Developments

This includes all types of electricity generating stations. Local developments are those where the capacity is less than 20 megawatts.

There were 123 local electricity generation applications in 2020/21, 15 more than the previous year. The 108 not subject to processing agreements had an average decision time of 16.2 weeks, more than six weeks slower than the previous year.

The average decision time for local electricity developments has varied substantially over the last seven years but prior to 2020/21 the overall trend showed a decrease in average decision time. The number of electricity generation applications is relatively small so the decision times will be volatile and can be significantly influenced by the decision times for individual applications.

The percentage of local electricity generation applications not subject to procesing agreements determined within two months was 52.8%, a drop from 64.9% in the previous year.

15 local electricity generation applications with processing agreements were determined, 80.0% (12) of these met agreed timescales that had been set between developers and local authorities.

Chart 11: Local Electricity Generation Developments: Number of decisions
Chart showing annual trends since 2012/13 in number of applications determined and average decision times for  local electricity generation applications
Chart 12: Local Electricity Generation Developments: Percentage under two months
Chart showing annual trend since 2012/13 of percentage of applications determined within two months for local electricity generation applications

2.7. Local Other Developments

Other Developments are developments not falling wholly within any other single class. They include but are not limited to retail, leisure and entertainment, education, healthcare, community facilities, transport interchanges, water and drainage developments and projects. This class also covers mixed use projects.

Local Other Developments are those where the gross floor space of any building, structure or erection as a result of such development is less than 5,000 square metres and the area of the site is less than 2 hectares.

There were 5,056 local other developments applications in 2020/21, 1,545 (23%) fewer than the previous year. The 4,454 not subject to processing agreements had an average decision time of 11.2 weeks, just over a week slower than the 9.8 weeks for the previous year.

602 local other developments applications with processing agreements were determined, 71.9% (433) of these met agreed timescales that had been set between developers and local authorities.

The percentage of local other developments applications not subject to processing agreements determined within two months was 59.9%, down from 68.5% in the previous year.

Chart 13: Local Other Developments: Number of decisions
Chart showing annual trends since 2012/13 in number of applications determined and average decision times for  local Other Developments applications
Chart 14: Local Other Developments: Percentage under two months
Chart showing annual trend since 2012/13 of percentage of applications determined within two months for local other developments applications

Contact

Email: planning_stats@gov.scot