Planning Terms Explained

The Planning process in Scotland is governed by the Scottish Government’s Circular 4 2009: – Development Management Procedures.  Our Planning Authority is the City of Edinburgh Council and their protocols for Development Management SubCommittee are at the foot of this page

National developments are mainly large public works (for example, the replacement Forth crossing) and are identified in a document called the National Planning Framework.

 Major developments include developments of 50 or more homes or residential sites of more than 2 Hectares, larger business developments, certain waste, water, transport and energy-related developments.

 Local developments include changes to individual houses and, for example, smaller developments for new housing and retail. Most applications for planning permission will be for local developments.

 The developer for a national or major application must submit a Proposal of Application (PAN) to the planning authority at least 12 weeks before submitting a planning application.  They are also required to have consultation and at least one public exhibition with communities before a planning application is submitted.  The developer has to then take on board the feedback from the consultations.  Comments must be made direct to the developer for a PAN.

 Full planning permission (FUL) requires details and plans of the proposal along with supporting documentation.   The plans and drawings submitted must accurately describe the proposals and tie in with the written description of the development.  Representations and objections must be made to the Planning Authority within 3 weeks of the application being validated.

Planning permission in principle  (PPP) is to establish the acceptability of a proposal in principle without having to develop the detailed proposals.  Representations and objections must be made to the Planning Authority within 3 weeks of the application being validated.

The difference between a full planning application and planning permission in principle is that for PPP there is no requirement for plans and drawings other than a location plan;  no requirement for a design or design and access statement to be prepared; but there is a requirement to describe the location of the access points to the development from a road where this is not otherwise detailed in the application and accompanying documents.

Applications for approval of matters specified in conditions (AMC)  These applications relate to conditions attached to planning permission in principle (PPP) requiring the further approval, consent or agreement of the planning authority for any detailed aspect of the development. All such conditions must be the subject of such a formal application.  There is no statutory limit on the number of such conditions which can be addressed in any one application.  Neighbour notification and advertising where neighbour notification has not been carried out will continue to apply.  Representations and objections must be made to the Planning Authority within 3 weeks of the application being validated.

Neighbour Notification Planning authorities are required to notify those with an interest in “neighbouring land” of a full planning application (FUL), planning permission in principle (PPP) and applications for approval of matters specified in conditions (AMC) attached to planning permission in principle. They are also required to place notices locally or advertise in the press under certain circumstances.  The term “neighbouring land” is defined by regulation as: “an area or plot of land which, or part of which, is conterminous with or within 20 metres of the boundary of the land for which the development is proposed.”

Anyone can comment on an application for planning permission.  This includes neighbours and people who are most directly affected by a proposal and also the wider community and even those who may not be directly affected but have views on a proposal which might constitute a material consideration.  You can make comments by writing to the planning authority or commenting online on the Council website.

 A material consideration is a planning issue which is relevant to the application and can include national policy, the design of the proposed development, and the effect of the plan on the environment. Further detail is on the CEC website.  The planning authority must decide how important these material considerations are and because all relevant matters need to be considered, there is no guarantee that development plan policies will be the deciding factor in every case.

A full list of terms can also be downloaded from

The Development Management SubCommittee takes the decisions on planning matters with advice from planning officers.  Their protocols and procedures are

General procedures

Ward Members attendance procedures (hearings)

Site visits

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