Thu 12 Apr 2018

My neighbour has submitted a planning application, so why haven't I been notified?

It can be a source of great frustration for people to discover that their neighbour has submitted a planning application, and the period for representations has passed without them being aware of the application.  The circumstances in which a person should receive neighbour notification of a planning application in Scotland are set out below.

Responsibility for publicity of planning applications lies with the planning authority.  In the past this was the responsibility of the applicant.

Regulation 18 of the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (Scotland) Regulations 2013 provides that the planning authority is to send a notice to the owner, lessee, or occupier of premises situated on neighbouring land.  The notice should include details such as the name of the applicant; a description of the development to which the application relates; the address or a description of the land to which the development relates; an explanation of how representations may be made and the timescale for making such representations; and a plan showing the situation of the application site in the context of the neighbouring land.

However, neighbouring land is defined only as "an area or plot of land (other than land forming part of a road) which, or part of which, is conterminous with or within 20 metres of the boundary of the land for which the development is proposed."  Therefore if your neighbour is developing land more than 20 metres from your property, you will receive no formal notification from the planning authority.

Further, if there are no "premises" on the neighbouring land, e.g. this is simply an empty field, the planning authority are not to serve a notice, but instead to advertise details of the planning application in the newspaper.  This can be easy to miss if you are not looking out for such an advert.

What if my property is within 20 metres and I have not been notified?

If the application has not yet determined, the prudent thing to do is to make contact with the planning authority and bring to their attention that you have not been notified. If you should have been notified, you should be allowed a period of at least 21 days to make representations on the application.

In the event that the application has already been determined, your remedy may be a judicial review of the planning authority's decision to grant planning permission.  However, it may not be sufficient simply to argue that the planning authority failed to notify you of the application.  It would most likely require to be demonstrated that had you been notified, you would have made a representation which would have made a material difference to the determination of the application.

Should you require any advice in respect of neighbour notification or making representations on planning applications, please contact a member of the Morton Fraser planning team.

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