1. Local authorities are the planning authorities for their areas. As such, they are charged with delivering sustainable development needed by their communities, ensuring development is of the best possible quality, and directing it to the most appropriate locations. They must also protect their areas from inappropriate development. This can involve making some difficult, and sometimes unpopular, decisions; but doing so with clear reasons in the interests of the wider community.
2. Sometimes though, as well as carrying out their statutory role as planning authorities, local authorities also find themselves with a further interest in a development proposal, and perhaps with something to gain as an organisation from the development proceeding. This can lead to a potential conflict of interests.
3. This Planning Advice Note offers advice to planning authorities, and also to other interested parties, on the expected standards of assessment and scrutiny of development proposals where the local authority has an interest. It also explains the procedures to be followed, where relevant, and discusses the situations where Scottish Ministers may consider it necessary to become involved in decision-making.
4. In some circumstances, a National Park Authority takes the responsibilities of the planning authority for its area. Where this occurs, the advice in this note is equally relevant.