Changes to pre-application consultation with local communities

View of Princes Street from the Castle looking North on a sunny day.

Changes are coming to the way pre-application consultation with local communities takes place.

All applications for national or major development must comply with the Pre-Application Consultation (PAC) process. Where pre-application consultation is required, applicants must submit a Proposal of Application Notice (PAN) at least 12 weeks prior to the submission of the planning application.

Previously, a minimum of one event was required to take place, however for notices submitted after 1 October, there will now need to be two events, in accordance with The Town and Country Planning (Pre-Application Consultation) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2021 .

At the second event the application will provide feedback on comments received regarding the proposed development. Both of these exhibition/events must be press advertised.

The changes also introduce a time limit of 18 months within which an application must be submitted.

Notices submitted prior to 1 October will not be required to hold two events but will be subject to the 18 month time limit, starting from 1 October. 

Since the first outbreak of Covid in March 2020, all events have been taking place online. For notices received after 1 October, all events must now be in person. It is still good practice however to provide online information for those not able to attend in person.

The Edinburgh Development Concordat promotes collaborative working between the developer, community councils and the Council. It is recommended that an engagement strategy is prepared which sets out how community feedback will be sought. This could include the use of:

  • Public meetings
  • Meetings with community councils
  • Exhibitions with developer staff on hand to answer questions
  • Social media to promote events
  • Bespoke websites for the development
  • Surveys – both online and in person
  • Posters in local libraries and other public places
  • Leaflets distributed to properties in the local area

Consultation should be a meaningful engagement with the community and should offer the opportunity to mitigate negative impacts and misunderstandings and deal with community issues that can be addressed.

Changes to Edinburgh’s Planning Fees

Looking across Edinburgh on a sunny day. Edinburgh Castle is in the foreground with Princes Street Gardens, Princes Street and the New Town running left to right beyond.

Following the national fee changes in April 2022, there are two further important changes to planning fees specific to Edinburgh.

To reflect these changes, we have created a Planning Fees Charter which is now available on our website.

  • From 1 October 2022 retrospective planning applications will be subject to a 25% surcharge
  • Reduced fees: some fees for not for profit or social enterprises can now receive a 25% discount

Below is a summary of the changes:

Retrospective Applications

A retrospective application is an application for planning permission for a development which has already commenced or has been completed without planning permission.

Retrospective applications often result from Enforcement enquiries but can also be the result of other factors. A surcharge on retrospective applications is being introduced to provide a means of recovering some of the costs of carrying out enforcement investigations.

From 1 October 2022, Edinburgh Council will be imposing the maximum 25% surcharge allowed by the regulations.

As an example, an average householder application for a summerhouse in retrospect, would mean the normal application fee of £300 plus a further 25% (£75).

If you are submitting a retrospective application, it is important that you highlight this at the time of submission.

The surcharge will not be calculated when an application is submitted on e-planning.scot. This is because e-planning is a national service which does not consider individual charges by local authorities. This will mean that the extra fee will be requested when your application is registered. If the required surcharge is not paid, your application will not be progressed to determination.

Reduced Fees

Starting immediately, Edinburgh Council will reduce the fee by 25% for applications which relates to development which

  • has the primary purpose of contributing to a not for profit or social enterprise
  • relates to development which is likely to contribute to improving the health of residents in the area to which the application relates.

Applications must meet both the above criteria to be considered for an exemption.

The amount levied will depend on the type of application. For example, a £300 fee would be reduced to £225.

The full statutory fee should be paid when the application is submitted. The Council will make a decision on receipt of an application as to whether a 25% reduction is applicable and will refund the applicant accordingly.

Prospective applicants should make clear in their supporting information if they are seeking a reduction in the application fee.

Clear justification should be given for why the applicant believes that a reduction in the fee is applicable.

For full details, see our revised Planning Fees Charter.

REMINDER: Planning and Building Standards systems upgrade 8-12 August

Next week an upgrade of Planning and Building Standards systems is planned from Monday 8 August – Friday 12 August.

The means the Planning and Building Standards Portal will be unavailable during this time.

The weekly list of planning applications will not be issued on the week beginning Monday 8 August and you will be unable to view and comment on applications.

Relevant applications will have additional time added for comments to be made to take account of the downtime.

A temporary webpage is now in place and has the planning documents for the Local Review Body and the Development Management Sub Committee, both on Wednesday 10 August;

www.edinburgh.gov.uk/pbsupgrade

During this time, you will be unable to view enforcement cases or the enforcement register.  Enforcement enquires can still be made using the online form.

Planning and building warrant applications can continue to be submitted online through eDevelopment.

You can keep up to date by following us on Twitter @planningedin or subscribing to the Planning Blog.

Help us to help you

The Planning service is as busy as ever with large number of planning applications and enforcement queries coming through the door. Key projects are continuing to progress including City Plan 2030 and the Low Emissions Zone. At the same time, we have a continuous programme of improvement to address changes such as the new planning fees and to ensure our processes are as efficient and robust as possible.

We are pleased that a number of new assistant planners have been recruited and they will be joining us over the next few months. We are also recruiting for a new planning officer.

Whilst there is much positive news, we do recognise that planning applications are taking longer to assess and determine than we would like, and we are not always meeting our statutory timescales. We know we need to do better. We are looking at a number of measures to address the backlog.

If you have recently submitted or about to submit an application, please pay particular attention to your acknowledgement letter at this time.

Photographs & relevant contextual plans

It would help significantly if you could provide the following information at the time of application submission or upload as additional information post submission:

  • Photographs showing the location of the work and the wider context (including interiors for listed building consent applications)
  • Dimensions on the plans
  • Contextual information i.e. neighbouring windows/ extensions (if relevant)
  • 45 degree daylighting calculations (if relevant)

Please be patient and understanding – we will get there but it is going to take a little longer.

Scottish Planning Fees Change 1 April 2022

Fees for planning applications set by the Scottish Government change today for almost all application types.

This means everything submitted to us from today onwards is affected, including:

  • ‘full’ planning permission
  • planning permission in principle
  • certificates of lawfulness
  • advertisement consent

Amongst the changes, standard ‘householder’ fees increase from £202 to £300, whilst the standard fee for construction of a new dwelling increases from £401 to £600.

Details of the changes are set out by The Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications) (Scotland) Regulations 2022.

Using the ePlanning.scot Fee Calculator is the easiest way to calculate a fee, and can be used without having to log in or to submit an application.

Once you know your correct fee, paying is also easy, and can be done whilst submitting your application on ePlanning.scot.

For those applicants or agents who need to make an additional payment, or for applicants who may wish to pay after their agent has submitted, you can also pay for your planning application online using this link (for a quick guide to using this payment system, have a look at this blog post from November 2020.)

In addition, fees for pre-application advice are changing on 1 April – details can be found here.

Some other fees related to Planning & Building Standards change today, including;