My neighbour received a neighbour notification letter regarding land proposed for allocation in the Scottish Borders Proposed Local Development Plan (LDP) but I haven't. Why is this
There is a statutory requirement for us to notify the owners/lessees/occupiers of all premises on, and all premises within 20metres of, all sites proposed for allocation within the LDP. However, we have also taken the precaution of notifying all properties within 25m. If you have not received a notification letter, this is likely because your premises lies outwith the notifiable distance.
Do the sites proposed for allocation within the LDP relate to current planning applications?
No, however, where a site is already allocated for a particular land use within the LDP, there may be current planning applications or current planning consents relating to it. The planning application process is administered by our Development Management service, and this is a separate process from the LDP process. Any comments or concerns on any current planning application, should be referred to our Development Management Service.
What is the difference between a site allocation in the LDP and a planning application for the development of that same site?
Where a site is allocated for a particular land use in the LDP, this means that we perceives there to be no insurmountable issues to the accommodation of that specific land use on the site. In the event of a planning application being made for a proposal that would comply with the land use allocation (e.g. a proposed housing development for an allocated housing site), we would anticipate being supportive of the proposal in principle. However, matters such as the specific layout of the site, the number, size and design of buildings, the relationship to surrounding properties and the accommodation of access and parking are all matters that would need to be addressed via the planning application.
Will I receive a neighbour notification letter if a planning application is submitted for the development of an allocated site?
Yes, provided you are an owner/lessee/occupier of a property within 20 metres of the planning application’s site boundary.
Why have some sites now been included within the LDP when they were previously considered for allocation but not allocated, and in some cases were rejected by the Scottish Government Reporter?
Finding suitable sites to accommodate new development is one of the major challenges within the LDP process. Sites may have previously been submitted but were rejected as more preferable sites were identified at that particular time. In some instances, a site which had been rejected previously can be reconsidered if a new proposal is considered to be materially different to the previous submission and successfully addresses the previous reasons for rejection.
What is meant by longer term sites, and when are these likely to be developed?
Longer term sites are not formal allocations within the LDP. They identify where settlements may be extended to in the future. In many instances, further detailed assessments will require to be carried out prior to them being formally allocated. There are no timescales as to when these may become formal allocations. They may be released when considered necessary within a future LDP.
In the case of housing allocations, reference is made to an indicative site capacity. What does this mean?
The indicative site capacity is a broad figure which takes account of matters such as the site area and the densities of surrounding existing housing. However, this figure should not be considered as a definitive maximum number of units. This number may be increased/decreased when a subsequent planning application is submitted for determination. However, it is the prospective developer’s responsibility to show that the specific number of units proposed, including any increase above the indicative site capacity, can be accommodated acceptably in terms of the site’s size, layout, density, the design of buildings, the access arrangements and infrastructure, etc.
Why has this Local Biodiversity Site been proposed for designation? And what does this mean in practice?
Scottish Planning Policy encourages planning authorities to identify land with high nature conservation value that would benefit from protection under a local non-statutory designation. Accordingly Policy EP3 - Local Biodiversity of the LDP, includes Proposed Local Biodiversity Sites. These are considered to be critical to the conservation of vulnerable species, and would be subject to protection under Policy EP3. The objective is to ensure that development proposals which require to be considered against the policies and proposals of the LDP, do not prejudice the integrity of land that is designated as a Local Biodiversity Site.
Can the Representation Period be extended beyond 25 January?
No, the 12 weeks set aside for the Representation Period is twice the length of the statutory minimum requirement that must be allowed for this process. It is considered to be a sufficient length of time for all parties to make their submissions. The preparation of the LDP is carried out to a very tight timescale. Extending the 12-week period would have implications for the timing of the adoption of the Plan, which is already behind schedule due to the effect of the pandemic.
What happens to my representation once it is submitted?
All representations received will be analysed by us. Any outstanding objections along with our subsequent response, will be referred to the Scottish Government’s Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals (DPEA). A Reporter from the DPEA will consider the objections as part of the Examination of the LDP. The Reporter will make the final recommendations in respect of the objections and the issues they refer to. As the Reporter’s recommendations are largely binding, we may be required to modify the proposed LDP. The LDP will finally be submitted to Scottish Ministers to seek formal adoption.
How long will it take before the Examination is concluded and the Reporter’s recommendations are made known and published?
The timing and duration of the Examination will be dictated by a number of factors, including the volume of representations the Reporter needs to consider, and how complex the issues are. The current planning system is subject to a major overhaul and consequently it is most likely the Reporter may seek further information and opinions from relevant parties to ascertain how the new system may influence the final version of the adopted LDP. It is estimated that the Reporter’s recommendations may take between six and nine months to be published.