The development plan is a document that sets out how places should change and what they could be like in the future. It says what type of development should take place where, and which areas should not be developed. It sets out the best locations for new homes and businesses and protects places of value to people or wildlife.
The plan also helps development to take place quickly by describing how any new or improved facilities, such as roads, schools and parks, will be provided.
In the 4 main cities (Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow) and their surrounding areas. The development plan is made up of:
- The strategic development plan
- local development plan
- supplementary guidance.
In all other areas, the development plan is made up of:
- local development plan
- supplementary guidance.
Legal and Policy Context
The Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997, as ammended by the Planning etc (Scotland) Act 2006, requires Councils and national park authorities to prepare a development plan for their area. These plans must be updated every five years.
Strategic development plans set out a vision for the long term development of the city regions and deals with region wide issues such as housing and transport.
Local development plans set out where most new developments will happen and policies that will guide decision making an planning applications.
Supplementary guidance provides more detailed guidance on specific issues. Common types include:
- development briefs or master plans
- strategies or frameworks on specific issues such as location of large wind farms
- detailed policies, for example on the design of new development.
Detailed legal aspects of the development plan system are set out in a series of three statutory instruments
The Town and Country Planning (Development Planning) (Scotland) Regulations 2008
The Town And Country Planning (Grounds For Declining To Follow Recommendations) (Scotland) Regulations 2009
The Planning etc. (Scotland) Act 2006 (Development Planning) (Saving, Transitional and Consequential Provisions) Amendment (No. 2) Order 2009
The relevant provisions in the Planning Acts and associated regulations are explained in Planning Circular 1/2009 - Development Planning and Planning Circular 1/2009: Development Planning Appendix 1: The Habitats Regulations
Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) sets out the policy context for development plans. The Scottish Government expects development plans to:
- have a sharp focus on land and infrastructure,
- concentrate on what will happen, where and why,
- make more use of maps and plans to explain and justify the long-term settlement strategy, and
- contain policies and proposals that will achieve predictable outcomes.
Development Plan Schemes
Every year all planning authorities in Scotland produce a development plan scheme which sets out the programme for preparing and reviewing their development plans, and what is likely to be involved at each stage. An overview of all planning authorities timetable is available.
Development Plan Examinations
If representations have been made to a planning authority about a proposed plan, amd the issues raised have not been resolved, the planning authority must submit the plan to Scottish Ministers for examination.
More info on examinations is provided in Planning Circular 1/2009 - Development Planning and Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals webpage.
On 28 March 2012, the Scottish Government published a consultation document seeking views on the operation of the examination system and options for change. Responses are sought by Friday June 22, 2012.
Strategic Environmental Assessment
Strategic development plans, local development plans and supplementary guidance fall within the scope of the environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 and aretherefore likely to require a SEA. More info on SEA is provided on the webpage.
Planning Circular 1/2009 - Development Planning
Planning Circular 1/2009: Development Planning Appendix 1: The Habitats Regulations: The Habitats Regulations gives guidance on the application of The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994, as amended, ('the Habitats Regulations') to the development planning system in Scotland.
The Town and Country Planning (Development Planning)(Scotland) Regulations 2008
The Planning etc. (Scotland) Act 2006 (Development Planning)(Saving, Transitional and Consequential Provisions) Amendment Order 2009
The Town and Country Planning (Grounds for Declining to Follow Recommendations)(Scotland) Regulations 2009
PAN 1/2010 Strategic Environmental Assessment of Development Plans
A Guide to the Planning System in Scotland
Discussion paper on the interaction between Main Issues Reports and Strategic Environmental Assessment
Circular 1/2013: Strategic Development Plan Areas
Also Worth Seeing
Development Planning National Forum
Scottish Government officials and representatives of Scottish planning authorities and agencies meet annually to share good practice and discuss current development planning issues.
Scottish Government officials and representatives of Scottish planning authorities and agencies met on June 20, 2012. Presentations given at the event are available
Scottish Government officials and representatives of Scottish planning authorities and agencies met on June 20, 2011. Presentations given at the event are available.
The Scottish Government officials and representatives of Scottish planning authorities and agencies met on June 22, 2010 to discuss progress in implementing the new development planning system. Presentations and discussion focussed on experience with main issues reports published so far, looking ahead to the form of proposed plans, feedback from the various regional forums that had been held, experience working with agencies, the evidence base for plans, and examinations. A note of the discussion, and some of the presentations given at the event are available.
Development Plan Workshop
A workshop with Scottish Government officials and Local Authority development planning staff was held on July 13, 2009. The main aim was to take stock of progress with the new development plans and to discuss the format and content of Main Issues Reports. The Note of Development Planning Workshop on July 13, 2009 and the presentations from the day are avaliable.
Rosie Leven - Priorities for the new development plans;
Dr Fiona Simpson - Strategic Environmental Assessment of development plans;
Stephen Hall - Main Issues Reports and
Piers Blaxter - Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan 2009 - Main Issues Reports.
Development Planning and Management Transport Appraisal Guidance (DPMTAG)