Major and national developments

Carrying out major and national developments always requires planning permission. Making an application for this kind of works is similar to applying for planning permission for household and local developments but it involves additional steps:

View our Customer Briefing Notes for the latest changes to the Planning Service.

Major developments

Major developments include building of 50 or more homes, certain waste, water, transport and energy-related building works, larger retail developments (all as outlined in the Scottish Government Hierarchy of Development) as well as any type mentioned in Schedule 1 of the Environmental Impact Assessment (Scotland) Regulations 2017.

National developments

National developments are mainly large public works set out in the National Planning Framework produced by the Scottish Government.

The process to apply for national developments is similar as for major ones. However, before applying, you need to contact our Planning team to discuss bespoke arrangements.

Pre-application advice

Find out about our pre-application advice service for major developments should you wish to request pre-application advice prior to starting the application process.

Planning Processing Agreements

We encourage the use of Planning Processing Agreements (PPA) for major and national developments, preferably before you submit your planning application. 

Pre-Application Consultation

The Planning Service is experiencing resourcing issues which may delay response times. Please use the public access register as this is the quickest way to view and track progress on applications.

All major and national developments require Pre-Application Consultation (PAC) with the community. This helps to mitigate negative impacts where possible, address misunderstandings and issues raised by the community. You can then take this into account to improve the quality of your application.

To get this process started, you need to submit a Proposal of Application Notice (POAN) form (PDF 86KB) at least 12 weeks before you submit your planning application. This is to notify us of your intention to submit a major or national application, describe your development and propose a consultation (how, when, where and with whom it will take place). This form details what information and documents you need to provide and what you need to do. 

You need to conduct the PAC in line with our SP=EED (Successful Planning = Effective Engagement and Delivery) guidelines (PDF 587KB)

Our Planning team will respond to you within 21 days of receiving your POAN to advise you if the proposed PAC is satisfactory or if additional information and consultation are needed. They will also tell you what to include in your PAC report.

You will need to submit your PAC report with your planning application.

Application process

To request planning permission for major or national developments you need to follow the same process as planning permission for household and local developments. The main differences concern the pre-application, assessment and decision processes. In the case of major and national developments:

  • A relevant council committee determines the application instead of the planning officer
  • We have 4 months to make a decision (unless an alternative timescale is agreed as part of a processing agreement) instead of 2 
  • There may also be requirements for a Pre-Determination Hearing (PDH) as part of the application process