Advice and Guidance

Flood Repair/Replacement Planning Advice - Aberdeenshire Council offers advice to property owners making post flood repairs.

Flooding has affected properties and businesses across Aberdeenshire and the planning team has issued advice for people who need to make repairs or alterations alongside a commitment to deal with related planning applications faster.

The council has created a Flood Recovery Plan to support communities regain a sense of normality following the damage caused across the area.

As part of this the planning service has established a simpler process for people undertaking post-flood works.

Immediate works without formal consent can take place, or where there is doubt, a single form can be used to speed up the assessment process.

The following information is available:

Do I Need Planning Permission?

Anyone thinking about extending or altering a house or carrying out works in the garden of a house should get in contact with the Planning Authority to determine if planning permission is required. Householders will be asked to complete the ?Do I Need Planning Permission? form and to provide some sketches and/or photographs in certain cases to provide the necessary information required to make an assessment. It is important that the form is completed fully to allow the Planning Authority to make an assessment on the need for planning permission. Once the form and required information has been received the Planning Authority will confirm in writing or e-mail if planning permission is required. There is no charge for this service but please allow a timescale of 14 days for us to respond, or as otherwise notified.

Assessments will be made on the basis of the information submitted and in general no site visits will be undertaken. The advice given is therefore an informal opinion only. If you require a formal decision or legal certification confirming that planning permission is not required then an application for a Certificate of Lawfulness should be submitted.

What is a Certificate of Lawfulness?

A Certificate of Lawfulness is essentially a means of obtaining a decision from the Planning Authority whether a proposed use or works do not require planning permission. An application for a Certificate of Lawfulness should be made to establish conclusively that a proposal is lawful and does not require planning permission, and/or if the proposal is implemented, it will not run the risk of future enforcement action being taken. It is a decision by the Planning Authority that has legal status providing certainty to householders and future purchasers of the property that works carried out are lawful. The process is similar to that of a planning application in that a form must be completed and accompanied by drawings and a fee. If the Planning Authority is satisfied that the proposal is lawful then a Certificate of Lawfulness is issued.

Making a Planning Application

The application forms include guidance notes for you on what will be required to accompany your application. We have also provided checklists which you may find useful prior to submission.

This guidance note (pdf 19Kb) contains some information for making a planning application including what makes an application valid, what supporting information is required to determine an application and what happens if the supporting information is not submitted with the application.

Form - make sure you have completed all the relevant sections of your application form.

Drawings/Information - make sure all drawings and supporting information are included with your application as per the checklist for your development.

Fee - make sure you have the relevant fee for your application. If submitting your application online the portal will assist you with the calculation of your fee and payment can be made online at time of submission. Cheque payments are still accepted.

Please note that certain types of development may require an additional fee where it is necessary to advertise the application in the local press, should this be the case for your application you will be notified once we have accessed your application for validity.

Planning Advice

Planning advice provides best practice guidance on how to meet the requirements of the Local Development Plan and its associated supplementary guidance.

Categories of Development

All development will fall into one of three categories as defined by The Town and Country Planning (Hierarchy of Developments) (Scotland) Regulations 2009.

National - these developments are set out in the National Planning Framework 2 which is produced by the Scottish Government.

Major - the thresholds for these developments are set out below. The thresholds apply to new developments (not changes of use) and extensions to existing developments.

Local - all developments which are not national or major fall into the category of local development.

If you are proposing a national or major development you have a statutory requirement to carry out pre-application consultation with the community.

Aberdeenshire Council also currently operates a Major Application Pre-Application Consultation process, for further information of the process please refer to our Major Application page.

Thresholds for Major Development

Description of DevelopmentThreshold/Criteria
Schedule 1 Development (development included in Schedule 1 of the Environmental Impact Assessment (Scotland) Regulations 1999 All Development
Housing Development 50 or more dwellings, or 2 hectares or more of site area.
Business and Industry (Class 4-6) 10,000m or more of gross floor area of new build, or 2 hectares or more of site area.
Electricity Generation The capacity of the generating station is or exceeds 20 megawatts.
Waste Management The facility has a capacity of 25,000 tonnes or more per annum, or in the case of sludge treatment, 50 tonnes (wet weight) or more per day.
Transport and Infrastructure The length of new or replacement road (including some cycle/walkways), railway, tramway etc exceeds 8 kilometres.
Fish Farming The surface area of water covered is 2 hectares or more.
Minerals The area of extraction is 2 hectares or more.
Other Development The gross floor space of any building developed exceeds 5,000m, or the site area exceeds 2 hectares.


Pre-Application Consultation

All proposals falling within the category of National or Major require pre-application consultation (PAC) to be carried out between the developer and the community prior to the submission of any planning application.

If you are unsure whether your proposal falls under the definition of National or Major, you should seek an opinion from the Planning Authority by submitting a Pre-Application Screening Notice.

Where PAC is required you must submit a Proposal of Application Notice to the Planning Authority at least 12 weeks prior to the submission of any planning application.

The following documents will assist you with the details of the process and timescales.

Scheme of Delegation

Not every application requires to be determined by Committee. Planning Authorities are able to ensure that certain decisions can be taken by officials under powers delegated to them instead of being considered by elected members of the authority at committee. Aberdeenshire Council's scheme of delegation (pdf 598KB) lists the delegated powers available to Officers. This document also covers guidance in relation to making a representation, commenting on a planning application, making a request to speak and the appeals process.

Request to Speak at Committee

Local Review Body

Notice of Review form and guidance can be found on the Local Review Body webpage.

Making a comment on a planning application

The Council can only take into account 'material planning considerations' when looking at your comments. The most common of these (although not an exhaustive list) are shown below:

  • Loss of light or overshadowing
  • Overlooking/loss of privacy
  • Visual amenity (but not loss of private view)
  • Adequacy of parking/loading/turning
  • Highway safety
  • Traffic generation
  • Noise and disturbance resulting from use
  • Hazardous materials
  • Smells
  • Loss of trees
  • Effect on listed building and conservation area
  • Layout and density of building
  • Design, appearance and materials
  • Landscaping
  • Road access
  • Local, strategic, regional and national planning policies
  • Government circulars, orders and statutory instruments
  • Disabled persons' access
  • Compensation and awards of costs against the Council at public enquiries
  • Proposals in the Development Plan
  • Previous planning decisions (including appeal decisions)
  • Nature conservation
  • Archaeology
  • Solar panels

We cannot take into account matters which are sometimes raised but are not normally planning considerations such as:

  • The perceived loss of property value
  • Private disputes between neighbours
  • The loss of a view
  • The impact of construction work or competition between firms
  • Restrictive covenants
  • Ownerships disputes over rights of way
  • Fence lines etc
  • Personal morals or views about the applicant.

Please note: it is important to understand that the material considerations relevant to any particular application will need to be weighed in the final decision process according to their seriousness and relative importance.

Anonymous letters or emails commenting on an application cannot be considered. We operate a specific procedure for handling letters of comment which include remarks which are of a racist or otherwise offensive nature. Such letters will not be considered, and the writer will be advised of our concerns and asked to amend their letter, or it will be withdrawn.

How to submit a comment on a planning application

You can submit a comment on a planning application online or in paper. 


The public access register of planning applications has a functionality to allow you to submit a comment directly to us.

In paper

You can submit a comment in writing to: Head of Planning and Building Standards, Aberdeenshire Council, Viewmount, Arduthie Road, Stonehaven, AB39 2DQ. Please state clearly the reference number/name and/or address of the site with your comment.

Time period for comments

Public comments on planning applications must be made within 21 days of the validation date, advert date or neighbour notification date, whichever is the later. If using the public access register this will advise you of the expiry date.

Model Planning Conditions

The Model Conditions document (pdf 437KB) is continually reviewed and updated by the Development Management Service. It by no means gives a definitive nor exhaustive list of planning conditions that should be applied to every type of application listed within the document. Every application is reviewed on its own merits, and planning conditions are then tailored and applied to the specific circumstances of that development. This document is intended to only provide guidance and a basis for the Development Management Service to apply such relevant conditions. Each planning condition that the Development Management Service adds to a planning permission requires to meet all of the 6 tests as outlined within Scottish Government Circular 4/1998 ‘The Use of Conditions in Planning Permissions’.

Planning Aid for Scotland (PAS)

PAS is an independent charity which aims to help people understand and engage with the planning system. It provides a free, impartial and professional advice service to help individuals and community groups.

Guidance for transport developments

Aberdeenshire Council parking standards and associated local and national guidance is to be applied to any new or modified developments that are subject to a planning application.

Planning enforcement charter

The charter explains how planning enforcement works and describes the different stages of the process. View the planning enforcement charter (pdf 1.18MB)

Development management charter

Our development management charter (pdf 1.19MB) explains the aims, commitments and organisation of the Development Management Service. 

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