Scottish Government
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Removing red tape for householders

Fewer household developments would require planning applications under proposals unveiled today by the Scottish Government.

The consultation on permitted development rights seeks views on removing red tape for people who want to carry out alterations or minor developments in and around their homes.

Infrastructure Minister Stewart Stevenson said the changes would help efforts to make Scotland's planning system leaner, fitter and geared towards increasing sustainable economic growth.

He said:

"This consultation builds on the recent package of improvements introduced to ensure Scotland's planning system is a help, not a hindrance, to growing the economy - something which is especially important in the current climate.

"We want to remove, in certain cases, the need for householders to apply for planning permission, enabling planning authorities to focus their attention on processing larger development applications.

"These proposals strike the right balance between cutting red tape to help householders - central to the government's economic recovery plan - and safeguarding amenity."

The proposals include:

  • Allowing extensions up to 50 per cent of a house's original footprint, up to the height of the house
  • Introducing new rights for installing decking (up to 1m high), small porches (floor area of 3m2) and alterations to chimneys
  • Increasing the maximum area of gardens that can be developed under permitted development rights for extensions, sheds or decking etc from 30 per cent to 40 per cent.

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Scotland) Order 1992, as amended, (the GPDO) grants a general planning permission across Scotland for various classes of development. This removes the need to apply to the planning authority for planning permission if a developer can comply with the conditions and restrictions associated with each class. The permission in the GPDO covers certain developments in relation to, for example, dwellinghouses, agriculture, forestry, statutory undertakers (including railways, electricity, gas, water and sewerage), electronic communications infrastructure and airports. This planning permission is often referred to as "permitted development rights" (PDR).

Where development is carried out under PDR, the enforcement of any breach of the relevant conditions or restrictions in the GPDO is a matter for the planning authority. In some areas, particularly in designated conservation areas, directions restricting PDR are in place to protect the built environment. Where a developer cannot comply with the restrictions and conditions associated with PDR or a direction is in place removing PDR, then a planning application for the development would have to be made to the planning authority.

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