Scotland planning news, October 2021


Scotland planning news, October 2021

08 Oct 2021



Headline news


New Chief Planner for Scotland

Dr Fiona Simpson has been appointed the new Chief Planner of Scotland after John McNairney announced his retirement in June after nine years in the role. She has been in the role on a temporary basis since August. The Scottish Government has also confirmed that Simpson will take the lead of the Planning and Architecture Division and will focus on planning reform, spatial planning and policy, performance and casework. She has 14 years of experience working for the Scottish Government which includes being head of the environmental assessment team.

Scottish Government Planning twitter



Quote of the month


This is a positive step forward as Edinburgh has almost a third of all STLs [short term lets] in Scotland and so we need to take action. They’re putting pressure on house prices and rents and taking houses out of supply as well as causing issues such as anti-social behaviour and the hollowing out of communities

Councillor Neil Gardiner, planning convener for the City of Edinburgh Council


Programme for Government 2021/22 – planning related pledges

The Scottish Government has launched this year’s Programme for Government which includes several important pledges. The programme is the first with the Scottish Green Party since the power sharing agreement with the Scottish National Party was agreed in August. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said “This programme addresses our current reality, but it also looks forward with confidence and ambition to a brighter future. It recognises that out of the many challenges we currently face, a better Scotland - as part of a better world - is waiting to be built”.  Some of the key pledges include:
  • Decarbonise 1 million homes by 2030;

  • Provide £1.8 billion to make homes easier and greener to heat;

  • Building 110,000 affordable homes by 2032;

  • Dedicating at least 10% of the transport budget to active travel by 2024-25;

  • Supporting a just transition to a low carbon economy for people and businesses including £500 million Just Transition Fund for the North East and Moray; and

  • Investing an additional £500 million to support the new, good and green jobs of the future.

Scottish Government, Programme for Government 2021-22First Minister's statement - 7 September 2021

Continuation of coronavirus modifications for planning

The Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 (Commencement No. 6 and Transitional Provision) Amendment Regulations 2021 came into force on the 29 September and ensure the current modifications to Planning legislation due to the Coronavirus pandemic continue for the next six months to 31 March 2022. The changes made by regulation 2(2) amend those Regulations to bring section 18(3) of the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 (“the Act”) into force on 1 April 2022 rather than 1 October 2021.  However, Local Review Body meetings which are meant to be held in public, will do so again from 1 October 2021.

The Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 (Commencement No. 6 and Transitional Provision) Amendment Regulations 2021

Edinburgh consulting on city-wide short term let control area

Edinburgh City Council is undertaking a consultation on a draft proposal to designate the whole city as a Short Term Let (STL) Control Area. This follows the Scottish Government introducing the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 (Licensing of Short-term Lets) Order 2021 earlier this year, which allow councils in Scotland to designate all or part of their area as a Short-Term Let Control Area as long as the measures are approved by the Scottish Government. A control area means that residential properties which are not an owners principal home would require approval of a ‘change of use’ to a STL from the local authority. Edinburgh has a substantial amount of STLs with 31% of all Airbnb listings in Scotland located in the city. The implementation of a control area could help Edinburgh manage the amount of Airbnb listings and short term rents being offered.  The STL would not affect letting rooms or letting out the whole residential property where it is the owner’s principal home and the owner is absent. The consultation is currently open and closes on the 5 November 2021.

The City of Edinburgh Council, Short-Term Let Control Area Consultation

Changes to the Cairnryan Special Development Order

The Scottish Government has laid in the Scottish Parliament a change to the recent Cairnryan Special Development Order. The order provides greater flexibility for combined or multi-functional facilities to be consented under the order. Any planning permission granted by the order is only for a limited time period and use of the land as authorised by the planning permission must discontinue 5 years after the development becomes operational. All reinstatement works must be completed by 6 years after the development becomes operational. Article 4 of the order also requires that approval from the Scottish Ministers must be obtained before any development is carried out.

The Town and Country Planning (Cairnryan Border Control Posts) (EU Exit) (Scotland) Special Development Order 2021 (


Coastal erosion risk in Scotland

Research conducted by the University of Glasgow as part of the Scottish Government’s Dynamic Coast project has developed new maps to serve as a coastal change adaptation planning tool for government, agencies, local authorities, communities and businesses. The research has estimated that £1.2 billion worth of Scotland’s buildings, transport infrastructure, cultural and natural heritage may be at risk of coastal erosion by 2050. The Government is now encouraging local authorities to prepare coastal adaptation plans.  Net Zero Secretary Michael Matheson said “at least £20 billion of assets, road, rail and residential property, lie within 50 metres of our coast. With nature protecting some £14.5 billion of these assets, maintaining our natural coastal defences must be a key part of our resilience and adaptation strategies”. £12 million has also been provided for coastal change adaptation which was part of the 2020 programme for Government. This is a four-year budget starting in 2022-23.

Scottish Government, Support to protect Scotland’s coastlinesDynamic Coast

Treasury publishes draft Residential Developer Tax legislation

The UK Government is seeking views on the draft legislation of the UK-wide Residential Property Developer Tax, ahead of its inclusion in the 2021-22 Finance Bill. The charge, which was subject to an initial consultation earlier this year, is intended to ensure that large developers make a fair contribution to help fund the government’s cladding remediation costs. This will be charged on profits from the development of residential property by a residential property developer company. This is separate from The Building Safety Levy, which will apply to developments (in England only) seeking building control approval from the Building Safety Regulator to start construction of certain buildings: the “Gateway 2” stage of the new building safety regime.

HM Treasury, Residential Property Tax draft legislation

Local Place Plan regulations published

The Town and Country Planning (Local Place Plans)(Scotland) Regulations 2021 have been laid in the Scottish Parliament. These Regulations make provision in connection with the preparation of local place plans  (LPPs) under schedule 19 of the Town and Country (Scotland) Act 1997 (“the Act”) as introduced by section 14 of the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019. These are standalone regulations for the purposes of the preparation, submission and registration of LPPs. There are no transitional arrangements required. These regulations are as follows:
  • Regulation 2 - LPPs must have regard to any locality plan published for the area which the local plan will relate to.
  • Regulation 3 -  sets out the maps which an LPP should contain.
  • Regulation 4 - highlights the steps that should be taken by the community body preparing the LPP prior to submission to the local authority.
  • Regulation 5 - sets out the information which must be submitted to the planning authority with the LPP. 
  • Regulation 6 – considers the registration of LPPs and how they should be kept and made available for inspection.
  • Regulation 7 – covers the removal of LPPs from the register.
  • Regulation 8 - sets out how the planning authority are to make available for inspection a map of their district that shows the land to which LPPs relate.
Subject to Parliament’s approval the regulations apply from the 22 January 2022.

Legislation, The Town and Country Planning (Local Place Plans)(Scotland) Regulations 2021 in the Scottish Parliament



The Lichfields perspective

Edinburgh is the first planning authority we’ve seen making a move to address the issues arising from short term lets in its administrative boundary, and we can expect others to follow suit in the coming months. What is essential is that there are clearly defined parameters for when and where a change of use to a short term let will be acceptable and that planning departments are adequately resourced to handle the potentially massive influx of retrospective planning applications for established but unconsented short term lets.
Gordon Thomson, Planning Director

Disclaimer: This publication has been written in general terms and cannot be relied on to cover specific situations. We recommend that you obtain professional advice before acting or refraining from acting on any of the contents of this publication. Lichfields accepts no duty of care or liability for any loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from acting as a result of any material in this publication. Lichfields is the trading name of Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners Limited. Registered in England, no.2778116