At the heart of Ratho lies the “Conservation Area” which is specially designated for the purposes of planning. In this area owners’ rights to develop, which would normally be allowed without having to apply for permission, have been removed and so planning consent must be sought for quite “normal” things, as examples changing paint colours and erecting a satellite dish.
Within the Conservation Area permission must also be sought demolish anything. Restrictions are placed on what can be done to trees.
Full details of Ratho Conservation Area, what makes it special, how it is protected and a description of its characteristics can be found at http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/directory_record/377069/ratho_conservation_area
Most public utilities also have to apply for planning permissions within the conservation area, but it should be noted that Scottish Canals is not subject to this restriction.
Edinburgh Council’s guidance for householders in conservation areas can be found here.