Thursday, 22 March 2012

Highland-wide LDP: Important legislative information regarding

The Town and Country Planning (Continuation in force of Local Plans) (Highland) (Scotland) Order 2012: 

The Order was laid before Parliament on March 16, 2012. The Order sets out which provisions of the existing eight local plans in Highland shall be continued in force following the adoption of the Highland-wide Local Development Plan. The intention is that these provisions will continue in force until Area Local Development Plans in the Highland Council are adopted.

Historically I believe relates to the following from the examination of the HwLDP last year, link here:

Extracts from letter from Reporters' Unit to Highland Council at link here

...The reporters request confirmation of what the council is envisaging in relation to the existing adopted local plans. Is it the council’s intention that these plans, or parts of them, will continue in force after adoption of the Highland-wide Local Development Plan?

...If the answer to question 1 is ‘yes’, it appears to the reporters essential that there be no doubt as to what parts of the existing plans are to continue in force, what parts are to be amended and what parts are to be superseded.

Item 2 - If the answer to the question in item 1 is ‘yes’, the council is asked 
produce a document that specifies (with reference to individual 
paragraphs, policies, proposals, proposal maps, etc) precisely which 
parts of each of the existing adopted local plans are to be: superseded; 
retained but updated; and retained without alteration.

Please clarify what is envisaged by “updated”. What process will be 
used to implement updating? How will users of the plans know which 
parts have been updated?

It would be helpful if any document produced in response to this request 
were to be in a form which could be attached as an appendix to the 
Highland-wide Local Development Plan.

Item 3 - Is it the intention of the council to seek a direction in terms of paragraph 7 of Schedule 1 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997, so that existing local plans, or parts of them, may continue in force after adoption of the Highland-wide Local Development Plan? If the council is intending to seek a direction, when will the request for a direction be made?"

Highland Council's letter of response is at link here

1.3 THC wishes to retain parts of its old local plans pending preparation and constitution of its three “area” local development plans for Highland. These will fill in the “local detail” for almost all parts of Highland. THC is discussing with the Scottish Government the procedural mechanism to achieve this aim. Our discussion with Scottish Government is ongoing and THC will provide the Reporters with further information when we are in a position to do so but we do not currently envisage the formal direction being required until at or just before the Intention to Adopt draft of the HwLDP.

1.4 The information provided in this response to the Reporters therefore sets out THC’s current thinking about which parts of the existing local plans should be retained, but on the basis of the above would be checked and if necessary amended in the light of any Reporter-recommended modifications to the HwLDP before submission by the Council of any request to Scottish Ministers for a direction in respect of retention.

Wind Energy - SNH publications

SNH have recently published four guidance documents relating to wind energy developments:

Assessing the impact of small-scale wind energy proposals on the natural heritage (2012)
Guidance on Assessing Connectivity with Special Protection Areas (SPAs) (2012)
Assessing the cumulative impact of onshore wind energy developments (2012)
Siting and Design of Small Scale Wind Turbines of between 15 and 50 metres in height (2012)

What you can do rightfully without planning permission.

Circular 1/2012 - Guidance on Householder Permitted Development Rights - Scottish Government advice and guidance on householder permitted development. Provides advice on what can be done without the need to submit a planning application

Environmental - updates from Scottish Government Newsletter

Second version of the Planning and Climate Change Directory now available:  The directory is a 'one stop shop' of resources and guidance available for key and other Agencies to assist local authorities mainstream climate change considerations into their planning decisions.  This latest version replaces that of November 2010.
Conservation Areas: Designations, cancellations and variations to Conservation Areas should be notified to Scottish Ministers via Historic Scotland by means of a map, preferably a GIS shapefile. Historic Scotland will then update their GIS system to take account of any changes. Address: Historic Scotland, Longmore House, Salisbury Place, Edinburgh, EH9 1SH. Email:

Spatial Planning Assessment of Climate Emissions (SPACE): Launched March 21, 2012, SPACE is a tool to help planners make informed decisions about the greenhouse gas implications of planning policies.  Planning decisions are crucial in order to build a blueprint for a low carbon future in Scotland

New codified EIA Directive 2011/92/EU: The European Commission has brought together all existing EU legislation on environmental impact assessment into one single codified Directive. The new codified Directive combines the 1985 Directive and its three subsequent revisions into a single Directive, without making changes to existing provisions.
The European Commission has also issued a guidance note on the application of the EIA Directive to projects related to the exploration and exploitation of unconventional hydrocarbon

Protective Expenses Orders: A consultation on proposals for new rules of court for the making of Protective Expenses Orders (capping the amount of legal costs that a challenger would have to pay the other side, if they lose, at £5,000) in legal challenges to environmental decisions by public authorities was published on January 10, 2012. Proposals also include the introduction of a similar cap - of £30,000 - on the defending party's liability to pay the challenger's costs. The consultation closes on April 3, 2012.

Revamp of Planning Appeals web pages

According to the latest on the Scottish Government 'Planning and Building Newsletter' the DPEA:

"...web site has been refreshed and now includes a great deal more information about the work undertaken by DPEA. Feedback on further changes that could be made to improve its ease of use is very welcome. Please contact David Henderson by e-mail ( or by calling 01324 696476."

Link here

Local Review Body Forum Guidance

Best practice guidance notes developed by the Local Review Body Forum and Local Review Body Forum Minutes from November 29, 2011 meeting now available on web. 

Extract from Scottish Government web page; link here:

Where someone who has made an application for planning permission wants to challenge the terms of the planning authority's decision (or where no decision has been made within the set timescale), they have a right to either:
  • appeal to Scottish Ministers; or
  • request a review by the planning authority's local review body.
Only one of these options will be available. Which one depends on the circumstances of the application and will normally be explained in correspondence and the decision notice from the planning authority.
Major planning applications, and any others not covered by the planning authority's scheme of delegation for local developments, are decided by elected members of the planning authority. In these cases, the decision can be appealed to Scottish Ministers, through the Scottish Government's Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals (DPEA).
If a proposal is fairly small-scale - and it falls under the planning authority's scheme of delegation - the responsibility for deciding the planning application sits with an official of the planning authority rather than elected members. These decisions can be challenged through the local review body, which is made up of a group of three or more elected members of the planning authority. Information about a scheme of delegation, or about requesting a local review, can be obtained from the relevant planning authority.
There is one exception: A local review case can subsequently be appealed to Scottish Ministers where:
  • an applicant seeks a local review because the planning authority official had not decided the planning application within two months; and
  • the local review body then also fail to make a decision within a further two months.

Inverness City Centre Development Brief

'The public is being asked for their views on how they want to see the centre of Inverness to develop. The Highland Council is asking for views on a new Inverness City Centre Development Brief. The purpose of the brief is to highlight and promote key development and environmental enhancement opportunities within the city centre. This will then provide a planning framework to guide future development.'

The public consultation process will run until 25th May 2012

More here

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Planning Training for Councillors?

I have often remarked about the complexity of the planning system and the decision making process.   Councillors face many challenges since they often have have to make quite complex and difficult decisions balancing competing and conflicting demands.   With the forthcoming elections approaching and several councillors stepping down it is reasonable to assume that there may be several 'newbies' on Highland planning committees who may need insight into the system.   Perhaps, even those who may find themselves re-elected and back on planning committees may find a 'refresher course' useful.  

I came across one firm recently who do offer training courses to Elected Members.

According to their web site here:

'Trevor Roberts Associates is the leading UK provider of practitioner-based training for Councillors involved in planning, with an extensive track record of positive results...' 

'... the basic course formats on offer (are). 

All courses are set up specifically for individual authorities, so we can emphasise specific aspects as required: 

On a separate page there is a list of  'Authorities in Scotland where TRA has conducted in-house training for Councillors involved in planning'.  (Link here
Aberdeenshire Council
Angus Council
Dundee City Council
Edinburgh City Council
Falkirk Council
Glasgow City Council
Inverclyde Council
Midlothian Council

I wonder what THC does in terms of councillor training?

The work that PAS does notwithstanding in an ideal world maybe members of community councils with responsibilities for planning would sit alongside councillors at these courses to ensure a standardisation of information inputs.  

In an even more ideal world perhaps more courses could be available to all at a very reasonable cost?

Moray Council
North Ayrshire Council
North Lanarkshire Council
Scottish Borders Council
Shetland Islands Council
South Ayrshire Council
South Lanarkshire Council
West Lothian Council