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.

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;

Scottish Planning Fees Set to Change 1 April 2022

Fees for planning applications set by the Scottish Government change on 1 April 2022 for almost all application types. This means everything submitted to us on or after 1 April 2022 will be affected including:

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

Amongst the changes, the standard ‘householder’ fee increases from £202 to £300, whilst the standard fee for the construction of one new house increases from £401 to £600.

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

Making sure that you calculate your fee correctly will make the validation process quicker and will help avoid delays with your application.  

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

Some other fees related to Planning & Building Standards are also changing on 1 April 2022, including;

Changes Coming Soon to Planning

As part of our efforts to improve our service and adapt for the future, there are two changes to the Planning Service coming soon:

Pre-Application Advice Service

At its meeting in February 2021, Planning Committee approved minor changes to our Pre-Application Advice Service.

It was recognised that the service is working well since it was introduced in 2019, but experience has highlighted the need for an additional option for a site visit for local developments. This will be available from 1 April 2021.

The Planning Committee also agreed a 5% increase in all Pre-Application Advice Service charges received on or after 1 April 2021, in line with the Council’s budget projections for 2021/2022.

Non-Material Variation Applications

At its meeting in February 2021, Planning Committee also agreed to additional discretionary charges for the processing of Non-Material Variation applications.

This will improve customer service and consistency across the service.

Details regarding procedures are being finalised in advance going live on 1 April 2021, but it is anticipated that Non-Material Variation applications will be required to be submitted using a standardised form, accompanied by the relevant drawings and the appropriate fee.  

This process will only apply to granted planning applications and will not be applicable to Listed Building Consents, Conservation Area Consents or Advert Consents.

Full details can be found in the Planning Committee report. Further communications regarding both of these matters will be published in advance of the changes commencing on 1 April 2021.

Planning and Building Standards Service COVID -19 Update (4 May 2020)

The Planning Service is continuing to adapt the way it works to support communities and businesses in this difficult time. We are pleased to announce that from Monday 4 May 2020 we are re-starting our pre-application advice service.

Pre-Application Advice Service

We want to ensure the planning system plays its part in assisting with a swift recovery for the city and we see our very successful pre-application advice service as an important part of the measures we are taking forward. However, it is important to recognise that we are working in a new and very different environment with officers working from home and site visits on hold. The service people will receive will still aim to be as helpful as possible but there will be some limitations:

  • When you submit your pre-application request, we will assess whether it is reasonable to deliver advice on the project from a home based environment. If the request includes a listed building for instance, we may be unable to advise without a site visit. We would therefore have to put that request on hold until we are able to resume site visits.
  • Where necessary, meetings with relevant officers will be arranged but they will be via Skype or Microsoft Teams so it is important you have that software to be able to engage in video conferencing.
  • Finally, we will be unable to take telephone payments so BACS transfer will be the only way you can pay for the pre-application advice. Details can be found in our Customer Service Guide

Requests for advice should be sent to preapplicationadvice@edinburgh.gov.uk using the request form.

Developer Pre-Application Consultations

Separately, the Scottish Government has provided planning guidance on pre-application consultations for public events. This is temporary guidance, linked to the regulations that came into force on 24 April 2020 and suspends the requirement for a physical public event at this time. Prospective applicants are expected to replace this requirement with alternative consultation measures instead, using web based approaches.

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