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Development Planning

The Development Planning work package includes implementation of Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 provisions relating to:

  • Purpose of planning
  • National Planning Framework / Scottish Planning Policy
  • Local Development Plans

This Development Planning and Housing Policy - PDF (239kB) work programme set out some key actions. This timetable has been reviewed as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, and this is reflected in the information below.

The provisions on the Purpose of Planning and the National Planning Framework were among the first sections of the 2019 Act to be brought into force.

  • The Purpose of Planning is “to manage the development and use of land in the long term public interest”,
  • With the legislation in place, work is progressing on the preparation of Scotland’s fourth National Planning Framework (NPF4).

Local Development Planning - Regulations and

Guidance Consultation

Local Development Plans (LDPs) set out how our local places will change into the future, including where development should and should not happen.  They form part of the statutory ‘development plan’ and will, alongside the National Planning Framework, be the main basis for all decisions on planning applications.

There is strong support for a plan-led planning system in Scotland. Our planning reforms have sought to strengthen and simplify LDPs.  We want a new approach to preparing plans that will result in #newstyleplans that support the management and use of land in the long term public interest. 

Significant changes to development planning were made by the Planning (Scotland) 2019 Act.  To guide implementation of these changes we consulted on proposals for secondary legislation and draft guidance. 

The consultation closed on 31 March 2022. 

The consultation documents include:

  • Part A – Introduction: This provides an overview of the consultation, including context, structure, details of the consultation process and highlights the impact assessment work.
  • Part B – Proposals for Development Planning Regulations: This sets out proposals for secondary legislation and includes Draft Regulations.
  • Part C – Draft Guidance on Local Development Planning: This sets out draft guidance for stakeholders on: (Section 1) the overall aims and expectations for new style local development plans; (Section 2) the process of how to achieve a new style plan; and (Section 3) detailed thematic guidance on how new style plans are to implement policies in National Planning Framework 4.
  • Part D – Interim Impact Assessments: This includes the associated impact assessments: Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA); Equalities Impact Assessment, covering human rights (EQIA); Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment (CRWIA); Island Communities Impact Assessment (ICIA); Fairer Scotland Duty (FSD) Assessment; and Strategic Environmental Assessment screening (SEA).
  • A list of the consultation questions - PDF (244kB)

Development Planning Working Group

December 2019: The Development Planning Working Group met for the first time and agreed that the Group would like to produce outputs that will support the drafting of the regulations and guidance for the new Development Plans system.

Development Planning Working Group slides - PDF (501kB)

Development Planning Working Group discussion Summary - PDF (230kB) 

September 2020: To enable the Development Planning Working Group to produce outputs that will support the preparation of regulations and guidance, membership has split into three subgroups. Each subgroup is producing information and ideas to support:

  • The Evidence Report and Gatecheck stages of preparing a new style Local Development Plan
  • Procedures associated with preparing a new style Local Development Plan
  • Scope and Content of new style Local Development Plans

The subgroups met for the first time in late September/ early October 2020, and agreed that they would submit finalised outputs to the Scottish Government in February 2021.  An updated overview and timescales provides the remit for the sub-groups, this timescale can be found in the introductory presentations from each of the subgroup meetings.

Subgroups Library 

Listed below is a range of material that may be helpful to the subgroups in preparing their outputs. 

All subgroups

Subgroup work briefs - PDF (190kB)

Work Programme web page

Engagement web page

Planning and Architecture Blog – Development Plan Forum

How We Got Here web page – contains report of the Independent Panel, consultation papers and analysis of responses, position statement and Bill documents.

Lead practice pilot projects: Linking spatial and community planning (West Dunbartonshire Council) - PDF (394kB)

Lead practice pilot projects: Delivery Programme (Fife Council) - PDF (405kB)

Lead practice pilot project: Gatecheck (Moray Council) - PDF (408kB)

Outline of draft guidance structure - PDF (418kB)

Procedures subgroup

Materials from meeting 1, 30 September 2020

Diagrams of future development planning process from previous planning reform discussions - PDF (817kB)

Local Place Plans overview - PDF (583kB)

Research on deliverability of site allocations

Outputs from SEA forum 2018, integrating SEA into the new LDPs process

Guidance on impact assessments to be carried out:

Procedures subgroup - Note of meeting on 3 February 2021 - PDF (291kB)

Procedures subgroup – Final Outputs - PDF (209kB)

Evidence Report and Gatecheck subgroup

Materials from meeting 1, 29 September 2020

Evidence Report Gatecheck Moray Local Development Plan - PDF (2.74MB)

Update on Measuring Planning Outcomes Research - PDF (207kB)

Update on the Performance and the National Planning Improvement Coordinator - PDF (359kB)

List of evidence required by SPP - PDF (214kB)

Research on deliverability of site allocations

Evidence Report and Gatecheck - Note of meeting on 2 February 2021 - PDF (293kB)

Evidence Report and Gatecheck - Outputs - PDF (402kB)

Scope and Content subgroup

Materials from meeting 1, 01 October 2020

List of Supplementary Guidance as of October 2018 - PDT (302kB)

Local Place Plans overview - PDT (583kB)

Examples of Scottish place based plans - PDT (2.43MB)

Examples of international best practice in place-based plan making - PDT (2.04MB)

Architecture & Design Scotland - Designing for a Changing Climate: Planning Reform Report

Presentation from Architecture and Design Scotland on Place Planning and Climate Change - PDT (768kB) 

Scope and Content - Note of meeting on 4 February 2021 - PDF (300kB)

Scope and Content - Final Outputs - PDF (2.50MB)

Transitional Arrangements Guidance

This Transitional Arrangements Guidance - PDF (458kB) provides advice about the current intention for the transitional arrangements to allow for a smooth changeover from current to new development planning processes. It also informs of the likely timing of changes to the existing legislation. Updates will be provided should there be any change to the intentions set out within this guidance.

Draft NPF4 logo

The Draft National Planning Framework 4

Read the draft on

Last Updated: 26 Apr 2022