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Pre-Application Consultation

Major and National Developments

All planning applications categorised as national developments as defined by the National Planning Framework or major developments in the Hierarchy of Development Regulations require the developer to carry out an official Pre-Application Consultation (PAC) with communities and stakeholders.

In most instances it will be clear from the regulations or National Planning Framework whether a PAC is required.

Where you are uncertain, particularly with repeat, renewal or amended applications, previously subject to PAC, then you should contact us for an official opinion, known as a screening opinion.

Screening Opinion

When asking for our opinion the developer must submit a Pre-Application Screening Notice. This must include a description of the proposal, a location plan and contact details. It must also include details of whether an Environmental Impact Assessment screening is also required or has already been requested separately.

We have 21 days from receipt of the Screening Notice to issue a response, which will advise whether or not a PAC is required. We may ask for further information within 21 days if the submission is incomplete.

The Pre-Application Screening Notice cannot be submitted online via the Scottish Government’s eplanning website but the forms are available to download.

When Pre-Application Consultation is required

Where a PAC is required, the developer must submit a Proposal of Application Notice (PAN) to us at least 12 weeks before the submission of an application for planning permission. A Proposal of Application Notice must include:

  • a description of the development
  • a location plan
  • contact details, and
  • details of the proposed consultation.

The consultation details should include:

  • who is being consulted (the community councils, other community interest groups and stakeholders);
  • how they will be consulted; and
  • the dates for the public event(s).

The PAN cannot be submitted online via the Scottish Government’s eplanning website but the forms are available to download.

Once submitted we make the PAN available for viewing on our website.

We have 21 days from receipt of a valid Proposal of Application Notice, to provide a response. The response will confirm whether the method of consultation is appropriate for the nature, extent and location of the proposed development. It may also provide an additional list of stakeholders who should be involved in the consultation.

If we fail to respond within 21 days, then only the statutory minimum consultation will be required although the developer must still complete any consultation activities proposed in the Proposal of Application Notice submitted.

The developer can start consultation with communities when the Proposal of Application Notice is submitted. However, further consultation requirements may be requested as part of the response to the PAN.

Consultation Requirements

Press Advert

The developer is responsible for advertising the proposed development and the preapplication consultation event(s) in a local newspaper. The public must be given a minimum of 7 days notice of the event. The press advert must contain certain details as set out in the Development Management Regulations 2008.

The Public Event

The developer is required to hold at least one public event where members of the public may make comments to them on the proposed development. Consultations must be carried out in a manner that provides genuine opportunities for members of the public to engage with the developer.

The Scottish Government’s Planning Advice Note (PAN) 81 sets out standards for delivering effective community engagement in the planning process. The developer is required to demonstrate that the PAC exercise complies with these standards. The event should be reasonably accessible to members of the public, including disabled people. It may be appropriate for the event to take place on several dates, and at times and places to accommodate the lifestyles and commitments of all members of the local community. This will ensure that the affected communities have the opportunity to fully engage with the process.

The Planning Application Submission

The developer must submit a Pre-Application Consultation Report with the planning application detailing the consultation and any changes made to the proposal as a result. The purpose of the report is to confirm to us that consultation has been undertaken in line with statutory minimum requirements and/or in line with any further requirements made in our response to the Proposal of Application Notice.

The report must include sufficient evidence; for example copies of newspaper advertisements and reference to material made available at public events, to demonstrate that the various prescribed steps have been undertaken; and that the nature of PAC was fully explained (in other words that it does not replace the formal application process during which representations should be submitted to the planning authority). The report should include a statement about how each of the standards for community engagement set out in PAN 81 was achieved.

The Pre-Application Consultation report must accompany the submission of the planning application and the planning authority is required to include it on the public planning file along with the application, plans and drawings.

As the proposal is classified as a major development then the timeframe for determining the application is 4 months from the submission of a valid application.

Further advice

Please contact the planning team at or Tel: 01389 722024 for further advice. Please follow our pre-application procedure if you have a specific enquiry about a development.

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