The Planning (Scotland) Act received Royal Assent on 25 July 2019.

Eight months ago I blogged about issues of interest to the rural sector following the Stage 2 Bill procedure in the Scottish Parliament.

Now that we have the Act, the final position on these issues is:

National Planning Framework ("NPF") - will include consideration of increasing rural population, having regard to the desirability of resettling rural areas that have become depopulated, preserving disused railway infrastructure and preserving peatland.

Local Development Plans ("LDPs") - to take account of the desirability of allocating land for the purposes of resettlement; and the extent to which there are rural areas in the district in relation to which there has been a substantial decline in population. There is a new duty to prepare a list of persons seeking to acquire land for self-build housing.

Forestry and woodland - local authorities will have a new duty to prepare forestry and woodland strategies.

Local Place Plans ("LPP") - a community bodies to have the power to prepare their own plan, which does not have to comply with either the NPF or LDP. Equally, there is no requirement for the NPF or LDP to follow the provisions of the LPP, but a well-thought through LPP will be difficult to ignore.

Agriculture and forestry - attempts to bring these more into planning control, especially in relation to construction of tracks, were unsuccessful. The Scottish Government is expected to consult on changes to permitted development rights ("PDRs"), which will (re)open the debate on whether there should be more or less PDRs for agriculture and forestry.

Short-term holiday lets - planning authorities are to be given the power to designate control areas within which planning permission will be required to change the use of a dwellinghouse to provide short term holiday lets.

Masterplan consent areas - planning authorities are to have the power to give up-front consent for development. Pilot projects in Argyll and Bute, Dumfries and Galloway, and North Ayrshire are exploring potential uses, including for self-build and custom-build housing.

Land value capture - although not included in the Bill, land value capture remains on the Scottish Land Commission's agenda.

Third party right of appeal - not included in the Bill.

Very little of the Act is in force at this stage and detail on various parts will have to be fleshed out by regulations in due course. Watch out for our updates in the future. Do get in touch if you have any queries.


Neil Collar