As we all start to get used to the summer weather that Scotland, and the rest of the UK is enjoying, leisure and hospitality operators want to move quickly to capitalise on the sunshine.

Outside spaces can be utilised for eating and drinking, and cultural events. Children's play areas can be installed to attract business from families.

Operators want to move quickly and without fuss.

However, some have faced costs and delays due to uncertainties with the planning system. So, for example a recent dispute with a council centred around whether planning permission was required for hot tubs at a holiday park. In another case there were questions over how long a marquee could be erected in hotel grounds without a planning application being required.

The challenge remains that there is no definitive list of when planning permission is required, and approaches can vary between councils. Also, some works might not need planning permission if they are on a house site, but do need it if they are for commercial purposes. The rules are also different for conservation areas and listed buildings. Add to that, the fact that the planning system can be slow to adapt to new trends, this can be frustrating for operators.

In some cases it is possible to apply for retrospective planning permission, but the worst case scenario is that planning permission is refused and building work has to be undone, with potential lost bookings and refunds.

With the good weather looking like it might be here to stay for a bit longer, getting specialist advice in advance of installing anything new, could protect you from costly delays and lost revenue in the long run.


Neil Collar