Publication - Statistics

Planning Performance Statistics 2020/21: Quarterly (October 2020 To March 2021)

Published: 20 Jul 2021

This report presents summary statistics on planning application decision-making timescales for October 2020 to March 2021, as well as historic data back to 2016/17. It is based on data collected from Local and Planning Authorities as part of the Planning Performance Framework (introduced in 2012).

Planning Performance Statistics 2020/21: Quarterly (October 2020 To March 2021)
2. Local Developments

2. Local Developments

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 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.

This section presents quarterly information on average timescales across all local developments, along with separate figures for the key categories of householder, housing, business and industry and other developments. Information on other local development categories is reported on an annual rather than quarterly basis.

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 10. Figures for all applications including legacy cases were reported up to and including 2016/17 and are available in previous publications.

The number of applications and average decision times have been impacted on in 2020/21 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 12,279 local development applications not subject to processing agreements in the final six months of 2020/21, 565 more than in the same period in 2019/20. The average decision time for these local development applications was 10.0 weeks, just under a week slower than the 9.2 weeks for the same period in 2019/20. The percentage of decisions made in less than two months was 69.0%, a drop of over 5 percentage points compared to the final six months of 2019/20.

Chart 3: All Local Developments
Combined line and bar chart showing annual trends since 2016/17 in number of applications determined and average decision times for local developments
Chart 4: All Local Developments: Percentage of decisions within two months
Line chart showing annual trend since 2016/17 of percentage of applications determined within two months for local development applications

In addition a number of applications were concluded that were subject to processing agreements, these applications are not included in average time calculations. In quarter three of 2020/21 there were 596 local development applications with processing agreements, 74.3% of these applications met agreed timescales that had been set between developers and local authorities. In quarter four there were 672, 72.8% meeting the agreed timescales. In quarter three local applications with processing agreements accounted for 8.9% of all the decisions made for local developments, in quarter four this increased to 9.8%. A number of authorities reported an increased use of processing agreements for local applications throughout 2020/21 in response to managing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

City of Edinburgh made the most decisions on local developments in both quarter three (621 applications, 72 subject to processing agreements) and quarter four (694 applications, 105 subject to processing agreements).

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 and shellfish farming, telecommunications, Approval of Matters Specified in Conditions (AMSCs) and other developments.

There were 5,134 local non-householder developments not subject to processing agreements decided in the final six months of 2020/21, 688 fewer than the same period in the previous year. The average decision was 12.7 weeks, over a week slower than the 11.1 weeks for the same period in the previous year. The percentage of decisions made in less than two months was 55.5%, down just over 8 percentage points from 63.7% for the corresponding six month period in the previous year.

In addition a number of applications were concluded that were subject to processing agreements, these are not included in average time calculations. In quarter three of 2020/21 there were 402 local non householder development applications with processing agreements, 70.9% of these applications met agreed timescales that had been set between developers and local authorities. In quarter four there were 411, 67.4% meeting the agreed timescales.

Chart 5: Local Developments (Non Householder)
Combined line and bar chart showing annual trends since 2016/17 in number of applications determined and average decision times for local non-householder applications
Chart 6: Local Developments (Non Householder): Percentage of decisions within two months
Line chart showing annual trend since 2016/17 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 7,145 householder developments not subject to processing agreements decided during the final six months of 2020/21, 1,253 (21%) more than the equivalent period in the previous year. More householder applications were determined in the second half of the year than in quarters one and two for the first time since the start of this data collection. The average decision time was 8.1 weeks, slower than the 7.3 weeks for the same period in 2019/20. The percentage of decisions made in less than two months was 78.8%, down from 85.2% for the corresponding six month period in the previous year.

Chart 7: Householder Developments
Combined line and bar chart showing annual trends since 2016/17 in number of applications determined and average decision times for householder applications

In addition a number of applications were concluded that were subject to processing agreements, these are not included in average time calculations. In quarter three of 2020/21 there were 194 householder applications with processing agreements, 81.4% met agreed timescales set between developers and local authorities. In quarter four there were 261, 81.2% meeting agreed timescales.

Chart 8: Householder Developments: Percentage of decisions within two months
Line chart showing annual trend since 2016/17 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 1,826 local housing developments not subject to processing agreements decided during the final six months of 2020/21, 104 fewer than the same period in the previous year. The average decision time was 14.8 weeks, just over two weeks slower than the 12.6 weeks for the same period in the previous year.

In addition a number of applications were concluded that were subject to processing agreements, these are not included in average time calculations. In quarter three of 2020/21 there were 172 local housing applications with processing agreements, 68.0% of these met agreed timescales set between developers and local authorities. In quarter four there were 200, 66.0% meeting the agreed timescales.

The percentage of decisions made in less than two months was 48.0%, down from 57.6% for the final six months of 2019/20.

Chart 9: Local Housing Developments
Combined line and bar chart showing annual trends since 2016/17 in number of applications determined and average decision times for local housing applications
Chart 10: Local Housing Developments: Percentage of decisions within two months
Line chart showing annual trend since 2016/17 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 gross floor space as a result of the development must not exceed 10,000 square metres and the site area must be 2 hectares or less.

There were 656 local business and industry developments not subject to processing agreements decided during the final six months of 2020/21, 22 more than the same period in the previous year. The average decision time was 10.2 weeks, slightly slower than the 9.9 weeks for the for the final six months of 2019/20.

The percentage of decisions made in less than two months was 62.3%, down just over 5 percentage points from 67.4% for the corresponding six month period in the previous year.

In addition a number of applications were concluded that were subject to processing agreements, these are not included in average time calculations. In quarter three of 2020/21 there were 43 local business and industry applications with processing agreements, 74.4% of these met agreed timescales set between developers and local authorities. In quarter four there were 45, 80.0% meeting agreed timescales.

Chart 11: Local Business and Industry Developments
Combined line and bar chart showing annual trends since 2016/17 in number of applications determined and average decision times for local business and industry applications
Chart 12: Local Business and Industry Developments: Percentage of decisions within two months

Line chart showing annual trend since 2016/17 of percentage of applications determined within two months for local business and industry applications

2.6. Local Other Developments

Other developments are developments not falling wholly within any other single class. They include but are not limited to retail, leisure, entertainment, education, healthcare, community facilities, transport interchanges, water and drainage developments. 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 2,375 local other developments not subject to processing agreements decided during the final six months of 2020/21, 511 fewer than in the same period in the previous year. The average decision time was 11.6 weeks, slower than the 9.9 weeks for the final six months of 2019/20. The percentage of decisions made in less than two months was 59.5%, down from 68.1% for the same six month period in the previous year.

In addition a number of applications were concluded that were subject to processing agreements, these are not included in average time calculations. In quarter three of 2020/21 there were 158 local other developments applications with processing agreements, 72.2% of these met agreed timescales that had been set between developers and local authorities. In quarter four there were 127, 67.7% meeting agreed timescales.

Chart 13: Local Other Developments
Combined line and bar chart showing annual trends since 2016/17 in number of applications determined and average decision times for local other developments
Chart 14: Local Other Developments: Percentage of decisions within two months
Line chart showing annual trend since 2016/17 of percentage of applications determined within two months for local other developments

Contact

Email: Planning_Stats@gov.scot