Play Sufficiency Assessment Regulations 2023: planning guidance

This guidance sets out the explanations and expectations of the provisions in the Play Sufficiency Assessment Regulations 2023. It supports the implementation of the Regulations, bringing together requirements from the Act and advice with regard to the preparation of the Play Sufficiency Assessment.

Glossary and acronyms

20-minute neighbourhood

A flexible approach to assessing our places against the concept of local living. A method of achieving connected and often compact neighbourhoods designed in such a way that people can meet the majority of their daily needs within a reasonable distance of their home preferably by sustainable and active travel methods. The principle can be adjusted to include varying geographical scales from cities and urban environments, to rural and island communities. Housing would be planned together with local infrastructure including schools, community centres, local shops and health and social care to significantly reduce the need to use unsustainable methods of travel, to prioritise quality of life, help tackle inequalities, increase levels of health and wellbeing, and respond to the climate emergency.

“the Act”

The Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997[28], as amended by the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019.

Children/Children and young people

Persons under the age of 18 years.

Child-friendly version

A version of a report or summary which is specifically designed to take account of the age, understanding and usual language of any children or young people by whom it is intended that the report should be read[29]. Child-friendly means it should be easy for children to understand and appealing for them to engage with[30].

Evidence Report

A supporting document to the LDP. An Evidence Report summarises the evidence base for those proposals and policies set out in the development plan and demonstrates that appropriate consultation has been undertaken and regard given to the views of the community.

Gate Check

An assessment of the sufficiency of the evidence base on which the Proposed Plan will be developed. It is one of the processes of LDP preparation.

Green space/Green or blue space

Space, other than agricultural land, which serves a recreational or an amenity function for the public, or provides aesthetic value to the public such as areas of:

(a) grass, (b) trees, (c) other vegetation, (d) water.

Local Development Plan/LDP

A plan in which it is set out, for land in the part of the district to which it relates:

  • a spatial strategy, being a detailed statement of the planning authority's policies and proposals as to the development and use of the land;
  • such other matters as may be prescribed; and
  • any other matter which the planning authority consider it appropriate to include.

It forms part of the statutory development plan.

National Planning Framework 4/NPF4

Scotland’s long-term plan looking to 2045 that guides spatial development, sets out national planning policies, designate national developments and highlight regional spatial priorities. It is part of the statutory development plan, and so influences planning decisions across Scotland.

Open space

Space within and on the edge of settlements comprising green space or civic areas such as squares, market places and other paved or hard landscaped areas with a civic function.

Open space audit

An audit of existing open space provision by local authorities, currently on a non-statutory basis. It typically consists of a record of the type, functions, size, condition, location, and maintenance requirements of the spaces and to provide some insight on levels of use.

Open space strategy

An open space strategy is to set out a strategic framework of the planning authority’s policies and proposals as to the development, maintenance, and use of green infrastructure in their district, including open spaces and green networks. It must contain; an audit of existing open space provision, an assessment of current and future requirements, and any other matter which the planning authority consider appropriate.

Place-based approach

A place-based approach is about understanding the issues, interconnections and relationships in a place and coordinating action and investment to improve the quality of life for that community[31].

Place Standard tool

The Place Standard tool[32] is a way of assessing places. It provides a simple framework to structure conversations about place, based around 14 questions.


Play encompasses children's behaviour which is freely chosen, personally directed and intrinsically motivated. It is performed for no external goal or reward, and is a fundamental and integral part of healthy development - not only for individual children but also for the society in which they live[33].

Play opportunities

In the context of PSA, this means opportunities to play outdoors.

Play spaces

In the context of PSA, “play spaces” means outdoor spaces which are accessible by the public and which offer play opportunities for children.

Play Sufficiency Assessment/PSA

The assessment of the sufficiency of play opportunities for children in their area, carried out by a planning authority under the duty as set out in in Section 16D(1) of the Town and Country Planning Scotland Act 1997[34], as amended. It must be carried out by the planning authority in preparing an evidence report.

Play Sufficiency Assessment Regulations/ “the Regulations”

Town and Country Planning (Play Sufficiency Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations 2023[35]

Proposed Plan

A draft stage of the LDP, which must be approved by full council before proceeding to consultation.

Protected characteristics

The Equality Act 2010[36] defines the following as protected characteristics: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child/UNCRC

An international human rights treaty that sets out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children.

UNCRC Article 1

Definition of the child. Everyone under the age of 18 has all the rights in the Convention.

UNCRC Article 12

Respect for the views of the child. Every child has the right to express their views, feelings and wishes in all matters affecting them, and to have their views considered and taken seriously. This right applies at all times, for example during immigration proceedings, housing decisions or the child’s day-to-day home life.

UNCRC Article 15

Freedom of Association. Every child has the right to meet with other children and to join groups and organisations, as long as this does not stop other people from enjoying their rights.

UNCRC Article 31

Leisure, play and culture. Every child has the right to relax, play and take part in a wide range of cultural and artistic activities.



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