Planning application decision making process

The key stages of your application are:

This involves submitting a notice to the planning authority 12 weeks ahead of an application. The notice states what sort of consultation will be undertaken and must be agreed with the planning authority.

On submission of a planning application, the Council will firstly ensure that the application has been sent to the correct Local Authority, if the development actually needs planning permission and if it is on the correct application form. We will also check that all the required plans have been submitted and the description of the proposal is accurate and succinct. Once all this has been checked as correct, the application can be validated.

The application validation process makes sure that planning applications meet certain legal requirements and that we have enough information to allow us to make an informed and efficient decision on your application. For more information, see the Validation of applications page or download the document below: 


On validation of the application, the case officer will send out an acknowledgement letter which also acts as a receipt for the fee paid and notify all notifiable neighbours of the application, everyone whose property/land is within 20 metres of the application site.

The Council will consult all statutory consultees and other relevant organisations - the Council's roads section, Community Councils, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency and, if appropriate, will advertise the application in the local newspaper.

The planning officer assigned to the application will visit the site, consider all development plan policies pertaining to the application, the views of consultees and any written comments submitted by neighbours. In some cases, negotiations may take place between the applicant and the Council in order to address any issues raised during the processing of the application. This may result in the submission of amended plans. If these differ materially from the original proposals, fresh notification of neighbours will be required whereas minor changes may not require re-notification.

The case officer or a member of the Application Support Team will be able to keep you informed of the progress of a planning application.

A final decision may be made under delegated powers - as allowed by the Council's Scheme of Delegation, by the Planning Committee or by the Scottish Government. The decision may be to either refuse the application, approve it subject to conditions, or approve it with no conditions. The Council will endeavour to process the majority of applications within 2 calendar months of registration, though large and complex applications will take longer to process. Please note that the time allowed for determining major applications is 4 months.

When making a decision on an application, the Council must firstly consider whether the proposal complies with national planning policies and advice as laid down by the Scottish Government and local policies set out in the Council's own Structure and Local Plans. For any application, therefore, it is important to check the current Structure and Local Plans in the first instance to see if the site is covered by any particular policies which may have relevance to the proposal. More detailed interpretation of policies in those plans may also be available in supplementary guidance documents that have been produced. The Council will also consider issues of particular relevance to the proposal or site, including, for example:

  • the planning history of the site
  • the design of the proposed development and impact on the surrounding area
  • the environmental impact of the proposal
  • the traffic impact of the proposal
  • the impact of the proposal on infrastructure, such as water supply and drainage
  • the views of statutory consultees, such as the roads authority for example
  • the views of neighbours who have submitted written representations, as long as material to the application

The Council's Scheme of Delegation give powers to officers to approve or refuse 'local development' applications where there are 5 or less representations (including zero), without the need to report to the Planning Committee.

An application may be referred to the Planning Committee for one of the following reasons, this list shows only some examples:

  • Six or more objections received
  • Objection received from statutory consultee
  • Development plan departure

The Planning Committee usually sit every month, and applicants will be advised in advance of the date of the meeting during which their particular application will be considered. 

In normal circumstances, applicants, objectors and other interested persons are welcome to attend the relevant Planning Committee meeting, although there is no opportunity to address the Committee regarding the application during the meeting.

However, due to the ongoing Coronavirus crisis, meetings will be carried out remotely and not in a Committee room.  Meetings will be recorded and thereafter publicly available for viewing on the Council’s website. Please visit our committee pages for details on Committee dates and weblinks to the recordings.

Planning decisions can be viewed by searching the planning register. After a decision has been reached, a decision notice will be sent to either you or your agent giving full details of the Council's decision.

If an approved development is not lawfully commenced within a certain time period the consent for that development will lapse. A fresh application will have to be submitted to the Council for the development:

  • Generally, applications granted Planning Permission in Principle (PPP) will lapse after three years, unless an application for the detailed scheme dealing with the conditions as set out in the decision document has been submitted to the Council for approval within that time. If the development has not started within 2 years of the approval of any conditions attached to the PPP consent, the consent will lapse.
    N.B. The planning authority may change the time period by means of planning condition where they see fit
  • For applications approved in Full such as householder applications, the development must commence within 3 years of the date of consent or the consent will lapse


It is important to note that, many applications are granted consent subject to conditions requiring certain works to be carried out, or details approved, before work starts. Work cannot lawfully commence until those conditions are complied with.


If you want to appeal a decision made on an application more details can be found at Planning application appeals

If you have any questions about the process, please contact us. If your query relates to a particular application or enquiry, please contact the case officer handling that application or enquiry.

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