Planning Changes – an update from Alan Jeffrey

Planning changes make altering your house easier – but avoid the temptation of a flat roof

It is curious how often legislation which directly affects countless thousands of people comes packaged in a way that would put all but the most determined off reading it.

The Town & Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2011, which was effected earlier this year, is an excellent case in point. However, despite the aridity of its title, it is of significant interest to both homeowners and developers.

The legislation, which further amended an order from 1992, has a rationale which stems from the current desire within government circles to reduce the complexity of the planning system, which was increasingly being seen as a brake on progress.

The order is designed to simplify the planning rules so that they are easier to understand and apply, and also to dispense with the requirement for a formal planning permission application in the case of minor and uncontroversial developments.

These smaller projects have constituted a substantial proportion of the planning departments’ burden. Applications for extensions to homes, dormer windows and other minor matters account for more than 40% of applications – to which, it was felt, the input of planners did not add any real value.

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