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Planning Service

Major and National Developments

Developments fall under a hierarchy consisting of national, major and local developments.  The bulk of developments in the Outer Hebrides will consist of local developments. 

To ascertain if your proposed development falls under the category of major or national Development, you can contact The Comhairle Planning Service or see: Circular 5/2009 Hierarchy of Developments.

Applications which fall under the category of major and national developments will require Pre-application Consultation (PAC) with Communities and submission of a Design and Access Statement.  Major or national developments may be subject to other requirements.

Pre-application Consultation (PAC) with Communities

Pre-application consultation on national and major developments allows local communities to be better informed and to have an opportunity to contribute their views before a planning application is submitted. As a matter of good practice, pre-application consultation (PAC) could also be beneficial for developments which fall into the local developments category, although this is not mandatory.

In instances where the applicant is uncertain whether their proposal, by virtue of its nature and scale, falls within one of the categories or thresholds which determines the proposal as either major or national, the applicant can consult with our Pre-application Consultation (PAC) Guidance Notes or the Scottish Government Circular 5/2009 Hierarchy of Developments; or, if still in doubt, the developer can submit a Pre-application Screening Notice (optional) in order to allow the Comhairle to determine the nature and scale of the proposal:

Before pre-application consultation starts, the prospective applicant should submit a Proposal of Application Notice to the Planning Authority. This starts the consultation process.  The Proposal of Application Notice must be submitted at least 12 weeks prior to the submission of a planning application.  Scottish Government PAN 81 (2.74M) on Community Engagement gives useful advice on what form consultation should take. As a minimum, there has to be at least 1 public meeting, which must be advertised at least 7 days in advance in a local newspaper. Pre-application consultation does not replace the opportunity for individuals and communities to express their formal views during the course of the planning application.

Planning Processing Agreements

A planning processing agreement is a project management tool. It can be used to set out the key processes involved in determining a planning application, identifying what information is required, and from whom, and setting timescales for the delivery of various stages of the process.
Processing agreements can deliver a number of benefits including:

  • Greater transparency in decision-making for everyone involved in the process
  • Greater predictability and certainty over the timing of key stages
  • Faster decision-making
  • Clearer lines of communication between authority and applicant
  • More effective and earlier engagement of key stakeholders

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar encourage the use of processing agreements for all major and substantial or complex local developments.
A template is provided to aid the process. Processing Agreement  (MS Excel 219KProcessing Agreement (PDF, 93K)

The Scottish Government Planning & Architecture Division has recently published a helpful document on the Benefits of using Processing Agreements (PDF, 275K).

Design and Access Statements

Design and Access Statements will be required for Major and National developments, as defined by the Scottish Government's hierarchy of development: 

Applicants can contact us if they wish to have initial pre-application discussions and to discuss what type of pre-application consultation a proposal would benefit from.