Planning Design Guide

Designing Houses for the Outer Hebrides

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“The scale, sensitive siting and design of single houses in the countryside can help support and revitalise rural communities without undermining the area’s distinctive qualities.” Source:  Designing Places (2001) Scottish Government

The Comhairle has developed an Outer Hebrides Design Guide to take you through the process of planning and designing your house (or houses). 

Designing houses for the Outer Hebrides can be a challenge, with the climate and variable site conditions, and the Design Guide aims to set out key considerations to look at when planning and designing your house.

Outer Hebrides Design Guide

Outer Hebrides Design Guide (1020.7kB) sits alongside Scottish Government Planning Advice Note 72 Housing in the Countryside (Opens in a new window or downloads a file). It also relates to the Development Plan for the Outer Hebrides. The policies and design advice contained in these documents can be a ‘material consideration’ to help us determine planning applications.

The planning service of the Comhairle should be your first port of call.

A planning officer can speak with you about your ideas, called a pre-application discussion, and this advice service is provided free of charge.  We encourage you to engage with planners as early as possible as it will help you to gauge how well your ideas fit with policy.  This will allow you to incorporate the outcomes of your pre-application discussion in your final proposals.

To help a planning officer to consider your proposals during pre-application discussions, it would be helpful if you could provide:

  • a map of the site and any alternative sites/plots - showing the surrounding area and neighbouring buildings.
  • photographs of the site including some close to the site and some from public roads.
  • sketches or photographs of existing houses similar to the one that you have in mind.

If you are unable to visit Comhairle offices, please email and send in your ideas, plans or pictures for some advice.

Rural Design : Future landscapes

The Scottish Government has launched a document which outlines the importance of design and place-making in rural areas of Scotland. It brings together a range of rural design initiatives which have been carried out by the Scottish Government in conjunction with Orkney Islands Council and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

Rural Design: Future Landscapes

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s ‘Kit House Redesign’ project (Opens in a new window or downloads a file)