Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act

Applies to Scotland

Title: Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act

Category: Scotland Law

Date: 1997

Reference: 1997 Chapter 8 (ISBN 0 10 540897 2) [Full text]

General Description:

Planning is necessarily a complicated process which is spelled out in the main statute for Scotland, the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 and its related legislation.  It governs the day to day operation of the Scottish planning system. the Act seeks to ensure that future development and use of land in cities, towns and rural areas is sustainable. Its primary objectives are to promote sustainable economic development, encourage regeneration and to maintain and enhance the quality of the natural heritage and built environment.

The Act states that planning permission is required for any 'development'. The definition of development is contained in the Act and is extremely wide-ranging. If a proposal falls within the definition it will be classed as development, and will normally need planning permission. However, there are some exceptions to the definition which your planning authority would advise you of. Some minor developments, such as the erection of some house extensions, do not require you to submit a planning application. They are 'permitted development'. Most planning applications are decided at local level by the Council as planning authority.

The Scottish Executive also exert a powerful influence on the planning system as all planning appeals are referred to them and they may also intervene in a planning application by "calling in" an application for their own determination.

The most important reform in planning in recent years has been the establishment of the primacy of the Development Plan (Local Plan and Structure Plan). The 1997 Act  requires that all areas within Scotland are covered by a comprehensive and up to date Development Plan, the purpose of which is to guide future patterns of development, to strike an appropriate balance between competing demands for development and to protect environmental assets. The Development Plan consists of the Structure Plan, which provides guidance at a strategic level, and the Local Plan, which translates this strategy into detailed policies and site specific proposals. This means that there now exists a very strong presumption in favour of development which accords with a Development Plan and also conversely, a very strong presumption against that which does not. The Development Plan now holds great sway over the success or failure of proposed development. Environmental control has increased particularly as a result of the influence of the European Union.

Pertinence to Agriculture: Agricultural land, Buildings

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