Development Management

Development Management is what used to be called “Development Control” which HGBG thinks was a better term because it means making decisions about particular sites based on the development plan and Scottish policy.

Most development management arises from planning applications submitted to the council for planning permission. Planning officials assess such applications in relation to the law, government policies and the development plan and they consult with relevant interests, including neighbours to the site in question. They then prepare a recommendation for the council.

The most important point is that determination of a planning application is made in accordance with the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise. The development plan will contain policies and maps showing what can and cannot be done.

In most cases planning applications are advertised in the local press. There have been attempts by the Scottish Government to remove that requirement, leaving the advertisement of planning applications to be limited to council websites. We  –  and many other organisations and individuals  – contested that proposal because some people do not have access to computers and many websites are confusing. We are pleased to say that the proposal was withdrawn and applications still appear in the local press.

Members of the public can object to an application and if there are more than a certain number of objections (for Argyll and Bute Council, more than 10  –  a very high number compared with other councils) then an application must be referred to councillors and cannot be determined by officials.

The HGBG looks at planning applications for development in the Green Belt. We assess them and decide whether or not to object. In some instances we initially object but seek to discuss amendments with the applicant. If those amendments are acceptable, we may withdraw our objection. We take no action regarding applications in keeping with the development plan. In one instance the HGBG has proposed that the council should consider a green belt site when originally they were not going to  –  this was the location of the new Hermitage Academy in the Green Belt because we felt that it was an institutional use of social importance.