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Paper 21st November 2002 - BESAC(02)20


Development Department/Planning collects statistics on planning performance and retail development proposals. The annual Scottish Vacant and Land Survey is now carried out by the Development Department/Economic Advice and Statistics Branch 5. Scottish Executive Geographic Information Service (SEGIS) provides most of the information Planning uses to inform the development of policy. A GIS node has recently been developed in Planning and work is underway on a Planning GIS Strategy, part of this will focus on information requirements and potential sources.

Retail Statistics

The Scottish Retail Development Survey is intended to:

  • provide the basis for annual retail monitoring reports;
  • assist the review of the performance of planning policy and its implementation; and
  • provide a mechanism by which specific questions can be answered on retail planning and development in Scotland.

The survey monitors all retail developments over 1,000 sq. m (gross) recorded as 'active' by local authorities during the calendar year. Statistical information is prepared on the:

  • number and floorspace of retail developments recorded by each local authority, in terms of the planning stages reached;
  • level of floorspace submitted, approved, refused and under construction, across all local authorities for a range of retail 'types'; and
  • location of development in terms of greenfield/brownfield and whether it is within/adjacent/or outwith existing town centres.

To date, the survey has been carried out for the years 1998,1999 and 2000. Reports have been published for the first two years and are available on the Planning Home Page at

A report covering 2000 data will be issued in the near future and the 2001 survey will be issued shortly.

Planning Application Statistics

There is a statutory requirement for local authorities to determine all planning applications within 2 months. If necessary an extended period may be agreed with the applicant. The Scottish Ministers have set the following performance targets for determining planning applications:

  • at least 80% of all applications within 2 months, and 85% within 3 months;
  • 90% of householder applications within 2 months, and 95% within 3 months; and
  • 80% of major applications within 4 months.

Councils submit 6-monthly returns on planning applications to the Scottish Executive. These returns include information on the total number of planning applications decided and percentage decided, this is broken down into the following:

  • all applications within 2 months;
  • all applications within 3 months;
  • householder applications within 2 months;
  • householder applications within 3 months;
  • major and mineral applications within 2 months;
  • minor residential applications within 2 months;
  • minor business & industry applications within 2 months;
  • minor other development applications within 2 months;
  • listed building & conservation area applications within 2 months; and
  • advertisement applications within 2 months.

Planning authorities also submit regular information on potential and actual development plan departures as part of their returns of planning application statistics.

Since July 2001, planning authorities have also been asked to submit separate statistical information on applications for telecommunication developments. This is a temporary measure to enable the effects of the new controls on telecommunication developments to be monitored. The statistical returns will be used this year for research into the effects of the new controls. The information provides statistics on:

  • number of telecommunications applications outstanding at start of period;
  • number of telecommunications applications received during the period;
  • number of withdrawn or returned telecommunications applications; and
  • number of telecommunications applications determined during the period.

There is additional information submitted for each planning application. This information relates to the decision process and indicates whether improvements were made in siting and design of the telecommunication equipment. However, a small number of councils are not providing this information at present.

We also provide information on our own performance in relation to notified applications and Ministerial call-in cases.

All these statistics on planning performance have been provided with a commentary in Audit Reports available on the Planning Home Page at


DD/Planning 3

Tel: 0131 244 7532

Fax: 0131 244 7555