Major and National Developments

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

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 (Opens in a new window or downloads a file).

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

Pre-application Consultation (PAC) with Communities

Unless deemed exempt, applications for development which fall within the category of major and national developments will require Pre-application Consultation (PAC) with Communities.

Pre-application consultation on major and national developments allows local communities to be better informed and to have an opportunity to contribute their views on a development before a planning application is submitted.

Amended regulations effective from 1 October 2022 will require a developer to host two public consultation events at least 12 weeks prior to the submission of a planning application (unless the proposal benefits from transitional arrangements).

Prior to hosting pre-application events, the prospective developer requires to submit a Proposal of Application Notice to the Planning Authority. Receipt of this starts the PAC consultation process.

The Proposal of Application Notice requires to be submitted at least 12 weeks prior to the submission of a planning application.

As a minimum, a developer requires to host at least two public events, the first of which cannot be held any earlier than seven days after advertising the event in a local newspaper, and the final public event, the date of which must also be published in a newspaper, must be held at least 14 days after the first public event.

At the final public event, the prospective developer must provide feedback to members of the public in respect of comments received by them at the first event and in any other fora, as regards the proposed development.

In instances where the developer is uncertain whether their proposal requires pre-application consultation with communities, they should submit a Pre-application Screening Notice.  

Pre-application consultation does not replace the opportunity for individuals and communities to express their formal views during the course of the planning application.

Proposal of Application Notice. (35.2kB)

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 (229.8kB)
Processing Agreement (88.4kB)

The Scottish Government Planning & Architecture Division has recently published a helpful document on the Benefits of using Processing Agreements (260.1kB).

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: (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) 

Design and Access Statement Guidance (46.3kB)

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.