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Improvements in annual planning performance

Published: 20 Jul 2016 10:25

An Official Statistics Publication for Scotland

The average decision time for major developments in 2015/16 was 30.5 weeks, over 6 weeks quicker than the average of 36.6 weeks in the previous year and the quickest annual figure since the start of this data collection in 2012/13. Major housing applications were decided in an average of 40.0 weeks, over one week quicker than in the previous year and almost two weeks faster than in 2013/14.

The average decision time for local developments in 2015/16 was 9.8 weeks, almost 3 days quicker than the average of 10.1 weeks in the previous year and the quickest annual figure since the start of this data collection in 2012/13. Local housing applications were decided in an average of 13.7 weeks, almost a week quicker than in the previous year and a week and a half quicker than in 2013/14.

Statistics on annual and quarterly planning performance in Scotland have been released today by Scotland’s Chief Statistician.

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Major developments include applications for developments of 50 or more homes, as well as certain waste, water, transport and energy-related developments, larger retail developments, and other types of major developments.

Local developments include applications for household extensions and loft conversions etc, smaller housing and retail developments, as well as various other types of local developments.

The average time figures quoted in this Statistical News Release exclude any applications concluded through the use of a processing agreement between the developer and the local authority, where an agreement on timescales for decisions can be made either at the beginning of the application process or at a later stage. In 2015/16, there were 83 Major development applications concluded by the use of a processing agreement (representing 24% of all Major development applications concluded during this time period), of which 69% were processed within agreed timescales. In addition there were 514 Local development applications concluded by the use of a processing agreeement (representing 2% of all Local development applications concluded within this time period), of which 79% were processed within agreed timescales.

Key Findings for the year 2015/16 (figures exclude pre-3rd August 2009 legacy cases and applications subject to processing agreements):

Reduction in planning applications decided in 2015/16 compared with 2014/15.

The number of Major Development decisions in 2015/16 totalled 267, a drop of 10% (31 applications) from 2014/15. This decrease has been mostly due to fewer housing, business and industry, and electricity generation applications.

The number of Local Development decisions in 2015/16 totalled 28,765, a decrease of 3% (974 applications) from the previous year. This drop has been largely due to fewer householder, housing, business and industry and electricity generation applications.

The overall average decision time for Major Developments has improved compared to 2014/15.

Major development decisions have been quicker by an average of over 6 weeks per application compared with 2014/15 (30.5 weeks in 2015/16 compared with 36.6 weeks in 2014/15). Improvements have been seen in average decision times for all categories of major developments apart from waste management. The average decision time for major housing developments was 40.0 weeks for 2015/16, almost nine days quicker than the previous year (41.3 weeks).

Average figures based on a relatively small number of Major Development applications can be skewed by a few lengthy decisions. More than 70% of Major Applications in 2015/16 were decided in a time quicker than the average of 30.5 weeks.

The overall average decision time for Local Developments has also improved compared to 2014/15.

Local development decisions have been quicker by an average of almost 3 days per application compared with 2014/15 (9.8 weeks in 2015/16 compared with 10.1 weeks in 2014/15). Improvements have been seen in average decision times for all categories of local developments apart from telecommunications and minerals. The average decision time for local housing developments was 13.7 weeks for 2015/16, more than five days quicker than the previous year (14.5 weeks). A total of 19 out of 34 planning authorities have reported year-on-year improvements in their Local Development average decision times.

The overall rate of approvals for all types of application was 93.8% for the year 2015/16. This is similar to the previous year (93.9%).

Key Findings for Quarter 4 of 2015/16 (figures exclude pre-3rd August 2009 legacy cases and applications subject to processing agreements):

The overall average decision time for Major Developments in quarter 4 of 2015/16 is the quickest quarterly figure since 2012/13.

For quarter 4 of 2014/15, the average decision time for Major Developments was 26.3 weeks, the quickest quarterly figure since the start of this data collection in quarter 1 of 2012/13, over 6 weeks quicker than the previous quarter (32.7 weeks), and over 14 weeks quicker than the equivalent quarter in 2014/15 (40.7 weeks).

Major housing applications were decided in an average of 30.5 weeks, almost five weeks quicker than in the previous quarter (35.3 weeks), and over 13 weeks faster than in the equivalent quarter in the previous year (43.8 weeks).

The overall average decision time for Local Developments was slower in quarter 4 of 2015/16 when compared with the previous quarter, but was similar to the equivalent quarter in the previous year.

For quarter 4 of 2015/16, the average decision time for Local Developments was 10.3 weeks. This is 4 days slower than the previous quarter (9.7 weeks), but similar to the equivalent quarter in 2014/15 (10.2 weeks).

Local housing applications were decided in an average of 14.7 weeks, over one week slower than in the previous quarter (13.6 weeks), but similar to the equivalent quarter in the previous year (14.5 weeks).

The figures released today were produced by independent statistical staff free from any political interference, in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

Notes to editors

The figures presented in this Statistical News Release exclude legacy cases and applications subject to separate processing agreements. Also, some applications exclude time periods in which particular delays have been outwith the control of planning authorities. Further information on these types of applications is available in the full statistical publication.

The full statistical publication along with excel web tables can be accessed at:

http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Planning/Publications

The publication contains a range of annual and quarterly trend information on average decision times by development types over the four years from 2012/13 to 2015/16; longer term annual trends for local developments decided within two months, and information on delegation and approval rates, appeals and local reviews, and enforcement activity.

It is based on quarterly data collected by the Scottish Government from Local and Planning Authorities as part of the Planning Performance Framework, which came into effect from April 2012.

We would be grateful for your views on the format and content of this publication, or if you have any suggestions for improvements that we could build into future versions. Please provide us with feedback by emailing us at planstats@gov.scot

More information on the Planning Performance Framework is available at:

http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Built-Environment/planning/Roles/Scottish-Government/Service-Improvement

Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/About