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Planning application decision times published

Published: 24 Apr 2018 11:46

An Official Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Statistics on quarterly planning performance in Scotland have been released today by Scotland’s Chief Statistician. These detail the number of planning applications decided across Scotland and average decision times for most types of application including housing and business and industry.

The overall average decision time for all local applications (9.1 weeks for 6,544 applications) has increased slightly since the previous quarter (9.0 weeks). In addition, there were 429 local developments decided that had processing agreements in place, with 321 (75 per cent) of these meeting agreed timescales.

The overall average decision time for all major developments (27.7 weeks for 63 applications) was just over five weeks quicker than the previous quarter (33.0 weeks). In addition, there were 21 major applications decided that were subject to processing agreements with 16 (76 per cent) of these meeting agreed timescales.

Key Findings for Quarter 3 (October to December) of 2017/18:

The overall average decision time for all local applications has increased slightly compared to the previous quarter but is quicker than the equivalent quarter 3 figure for 2016/17.

  • For applications subject to average time calculations there were 6,544 decisions made on local applications during quarter three of 2017/18. The overall average decision time for these local developments was 9.1 weeks, slightly slower than the previous quarter (9.0 weeks) but slightly quicker than the same quarter in 2016/17 (9.5 weeks).
  • For quarter three in 2017/18 the percentage of local development decisions made in less than two months was 71.7 per cent, down from both the previous quarter (74.3 per cent) and the equivalent quarter three percentage in 2016/17 (73.1 per cent).
  • In addition, there were 429 local developments decided in the third quarter of 2017/18 that had processing agreements in place, with 321 (75 per cent) of these meeting agreed timescales.

The average decision time for local housing developments decreased by just over a week from the previous quarter and was the quickest average time for any quarter since the start of this data collection in 2012/13.

  • There were 1,211 decisions made on local housing applications during quarter three of 2017/18. The average decision time for these local housing developments was 11.7 weeks, just over a week quicker than the previous quarter (12.8 weeks).
  • In addition, there were 180 local housing applications that were subject to processing agreements with 134 (74 per cent) of these meeting agreed timescales.

The overall average decision time for all major developments was just over five weeks quicker than the previous quarter and quicker by just over six weeks than quarter three in 2016/17.

  • The average decision time for the 63 major applications with decisions in quarter three of 2017/18 was 27.7 weeks, just over five weeks quicker than the previous quarter (33.0 weeks) and just over six weeks quicker than the equivalent quarter three figure in 2016/17 (33.9 weeks). This excludes one pre 3rd-August 2009 legacy case.
  • The average time has been influenced by a number of lengthier decision times including nine that each took longer than a year. 41 (65 per cent) of the 63 major development applications were decided in a time that was quicker than the average.
  • In addition, there were 21 major applications that were subject to processing agreements with 16 (76 per cent) of these meeting agreed timescales.

The average decision time for major housing developments was quicker by almost three weeks compared to the previous quarter and quicker by just over five weeks than the quarter three figure for 2016/17.

  • There were 31 decisions made on major housing developments during quarter three of 2017/18. The average decision time for these major housing developments was 33.8 weeks, quicker by more than two weeks compared to the previous quarter (36.4 weeks) and by just over five weeks than the quarter three figure for 2016/17 (39.1 weeks).
  • In addition, there were 12 major housing applications that were subject to processing agreements with 8 (67 per cent) of these meeting agreed timescales.

The overall rate of approvals for all types of application was 93.7 per cent in the period October to December 2017, a slight decrease from the previous quarter (93.9 per cent), and from quarter three in 2016/17 (94.2 per cent).

The figures released today were produced in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

Background

The average decision time figures presented in this Statistical News Release exclude pre 3rd August 2009 cases and 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. 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.

Local developments include applications for changes to individual houses and smaller developments for new housing as well as applications covering areas of development such as minerals, business & industry, waste management, electricity generation, freshwater fish farming, marine finfish farming, marine shellfish farming, telecommunications, Approval of Matters Specified in Conditions (AMSCs[1]) and other developments. 

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

Classification between local and major developments depends on the particular development type. For example, housing developments are classed as major when the application is for 50 or more dwellings or for a site that exceeds two hectares, whereas electricity generation is classed as major when the capacity of the generating station is or exceeds 20 megawatts.

An explanatory document providing background information on the Planning Performance Framework is also available.

Official statistics are produced in accordance with professional standards – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/About

[1] Applications for Approval of Matters Specified in Conditions (AMSCs) relate to conditions attached to planning permission in principle requiring the further approval, consent or agreement of the planning authority for any detailed aspect of the development.