Scotland planning news, August 2022


Scotland planning news, August 2022

15 Aug 2022




Headline news


Update from the Planning Minister and the Chief Planner

In July, the Planning Minister, Tom Arthur MSP, and the Chief Planner for Scotland, Fiona Simpson wrote to Chief Planners to provide an overview of the work of the newly formed Planning, Architecture and Regeneration division.
A draft revised version of National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) will be laid for the Scottish Parliament’s consideration and approval in the Autumn. A delivery plan for the guidance that will support NPF4 delivery will be published at the same time
The guidance regarding relaxation of certain planning controls, which was intended to provide flexibilities during the height of the pandemic, will be withdrawn on 1 October 2022. For example the flexibilities relating to hours of opening, deliveries and construction hours and to holiday park season length, will be removed. Temporary planning legislation associated with the pandemic, including that relating to the duration of permissions and consents and to permitted development rights, will be allowed to fall away.
Work will continue on Town Centre Action Plan 2, which aims to ensure that the economic, social and environmental health of town centres is at the heart of decision making.
The 5-year digital transformation of planning programme will enter its second year. Projects will include:

  • a new single payment system and fee calculator for planning and building warrant applications
  • a new Planning Scotland Gateway bringing access to all planning information and services together through a single online entry point
  • a ‘smart applications’ service, including a digital approach to reducing invalid applications and allowing applications to progress more quickly with real-time tracking and notifications
  • a strategy for open source availability of reliable data to support decision-making, on improved digital handling of applications for planning and building consents, including better use of 3D visualisation technology, and on backing that up through digital skills development for the workforce

Scottish Government, Chief Planner Letter: stakeholder update - July 2022



Quote of the month

For all of us, we have been working through what has been a particularly busy and important time for Scotland’s planning system and planning services. It is an important time for shaping how we will make choices about investment in our places for many years to come,
Planning Minister Tom Arthur and Chief Planner Fiona Simpson


Scottish Government publishes guidance on new planning fees

In the Lichfields Scotland Planning News for April, we reported on the planning application fee increases that came into force on 1 April 2022.
The Scottish Government has now published Planning Circular 2/2022, which provides guidance on the Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications) (Scotland) Regulations 2022.

Scottish Government, Planning Circular 2/2022

Land Reform Bill consultation launches

The Scottish Government has launched a consultation on its Land Reform Bill. The aim of the Bill is to address the concentrated levels of land ownership in rural Scotland. The Bill proposals include:

  • Requiring all large landholders to produce a management plan. The management plan should demonstrate how land will be used and managed, set out plans for how the landowner will engage with local communities in line with the Scottish Government's Guidance on Engaging Communities in Decisions Relating to Land and outline how the land will contribute to the economic and community development priorities.
  • Introducing a public interest test to assess whetherat the point of transfer of a large-scale landholding, a risk would arise from the creation or continuation of a situation in which excessive power acts against the public interest.
  • A requirement on owners of large-scale holdings to give prior notice to community bodies of their intention to sell.
  • Introducing a flexible tenancy, called a 'Land Use Tenancy'. This would allow landholders and tenant farmers to deliver multiple land uses within one tenancy.
  • Introducing a requirement that those seeking to acquire large-scale landholdings in Scotland need to be registered in an EU member state or in the UK for tax purposes.
The consultation concludes on 25 September 2022.

Scottish Government, Land reform in a Net Zero Nation: consultation paper

Planning and Environmental Appeals Division Annual Review 2021-22

The Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA) has published its annual review. Of particular note, 172 planning permission appeals were determined, of which 169 were determined by site visit/written submissions and 55 per cent were allowed. A fifth of the 58 enforcement appeals were allowed and a third of the 14 Conservation area consent, listed building consent or listed building enforcement appeals were allowed.
The review also encourages completion of its customer survey.

Planning and Environmental Appeals Division Annual Review 2021-22


Consultation: Scottish Biodiversity Strategy 2022

The Scottish Government is consulting on its Biodiversity Strategy, which is due to be published later this year.
According to the Government:
“The Strategy is the starting point in a process which will lead into the  development of rolling delivery plans and, through the introduction of a Natural Environment Bill, statutory nature restoration targets”.
The Strategy is being devised with an eye to two key milestones:
  • reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 (in line with the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature); and
  • deliver the Vision by restoring and regenerating biodiversity by 2045

Scottish Government, Biodiversity Strategy: consultation

Report recommends planning changes to benefit housing-with-care schemes

In September 2021, the Sovereign Property Partnership and the Associated Retirement Community Operators (ARCO) created the Scottish Housing with Care Taskforce. The taskforce’s intention was to build on ARCO’s work in England, which had led to a UK Parliament debate and taskforce, and start a similar debate in the Scottish Parliament.
In June 2022, the taskforce published its final findings and recommendations. Of note are the following:
  • Confusion as to whether housing-with-care falls within use class 8 (residential institutions) or use class 9 (houses) need to be addressed, perhaps with a new use class
  • Notwithstanding the obligation on Scottish ministers to report on how they intend to address the needs of older and disabled people every two years as set out in the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019, older people are only mentioned three times in NP4. National targets for housing-with-care in the planning system are a potential solution
  • Section 75 relief, to allow Housing-with-Care operators to compete with housebuilders on land values

Scottish Housing with Care Taskforce, final report


Response to Zero Emission Taskforce

The Scottish Government has published its response to the Zero Emission Taskforce recommendation report. It responds to each of the seven recommendations made in the report and sets out 35 actions. The recommendations are based around the following themes:

  1. Supporting a just transition
  2. Structuring and design of capital investment
  3. Providing social landlords with certainty
  4. Understanding the existing stock
  5. Shared learning and communication to support technological solutions
  6. Quality control and skills
  7. Understanding the wider impacts
The first recommendation states that the Scottish Government and social landlords should form a collective and move towards a just transition in the social housing sector. In response to this the Scottish Government has stated that social landlords and partners should make a clear commitment to a just transition to net zero. Funding provided in the Net Zero Heat Fund will also be increased and the Government will continue to lobby the UK Government for changes in tax rates and VAT for refurbishment works so that that the cost of meeting zero emissions targets is linked to the ability to pay.
The response also outlines the Governments support for a Fabric First approach to the decarbonisation of social housing, with a particular focus on further thermal upgrades and addressing airtightness and cold bridging. A social housing sub – group will be established to consider the best way to finance the retrofit of existing housing stock. Understanding the existing housing stock is recommended for identifying future investment needs. Social landlords will also be required to undertake a stock condition survey including details or new builds, adaptations and previous retrofit measures.
New energy standards have been published that will aim to cut emissions on all new build homes by a third. The new standards will also apply to non-domestic buildings. The standard includes performance targets that will aim to reduce emissions from new homes by 32% and new non-domestic buildings by 20%. New buildings will also have to set energy targets and reports will be required on the progress of decarbonisation of that building. The new standards will apply from December 2022.
Further proposals have been outlined for all new buildings to be fitted with climate-friendly alternatives to fossil fuel heating systems. The New Building Heat Standard (Part II) consultation sets out plans that would mean direct emissions heating systems would no longer be installed in any homes and non-domestic buildings warranted from April 2024. The consultation concludes on the 20 October 2022. It has also been announced that six Scottish islands will be carbon neutral by 2040. They are Hoy, Islay, Great Cumbrae, Raasay, Barra and Yell.

Zero Emission Taskforce recommendation report: Scottish Government response

Building a net zero future - Scottish Government

Transforming heating in homes consultation - Scottish Government

Carbon Neutral Islands named - Scottish Government

Short-term let control for Edinburgh

Edinburgh has introduced a short-term let Control area that will require planning permission when changing the use of an entire residential home to a short-term letting in the City of Edinburgh Council area. As discussed in this blog, the Scottish Government has now approved The Licensing of Short-term Let 2022 Order 2022, allowing local authorities to establish short-term let licensing schemes.
The legislation is in response to ongoing concerns raised by residents and communities about the impact of short-term let properties in their area which include impact on housing supply, affordability, noise and antisocial behaviour. The highland communities of Badenoch and Strathspey have also asked the Scottish Government to approve a short term let control area, though some have raised concerns that the move could affect the tourist industry in the region and the local economy.

Controlling short-term lets - Scottish Government

The Licensing of Short-term Let 2022 Order

The Highland Council, Short-Term Let Control Area

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