Argyll and Bute Council’s planning service explained

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Published Date: 

8 Jul 2014 - 11:51

The overall focus of the council’s planning service is on making things happen, supporting sustainable economic growth and regeneration.

Planners work to support the ambitions of individuals while protecting the interests of the wider community

The fundamental role of the council’s planning service is the promotion and regulation of development, aiming to achieve the right development in the right place. This involves:

  • The production of an up-to-date local development plan
  • Giving informal pre-application advice to applicants on specific proposals and on the planning process in general
  • The consideration of planning applications in the context of national planning policy and Argyll and Bute’s local development plan
  • The monitoring of development as it takes place, ensuring it is built in accordance with the approved plans and that it meets any particular conditions imposed by the council. For example, an application can be approved as is but others can be approved only on the basis that, during construction, the development meets certain conditions. These conditions could include landscaping, the use of particular finishes and the installation of the appropriate drainage
  • Enforcement action when breaches of planning legislation occur, taking proportionate action in line with national legislation

Anyone wishing to carry out development must first apply to the council for planning permission. Development is defined in the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 as the carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operations in, on, over or under land, or in the making of any material change in the use of any buildings or other land.

Some very minor developments, such as small house extensions and garden sheds in certain locations, may not need to go through the normal planning process. This is known as permitted development. Anyone who is thinking about one of these developments should always contact their local planning office for advice on whether or not they need planning permission

Ensuring development that benefits all is about communities and planners working together. The service tries to be inclusive – engaging all interests as early and effectively as possible

Once you make a planning application and it is validated then members of the public are invited to comment on it. The application is then evaluated and, if necessary, negotiations between planning officers and the applicant take place before the decision is made. This ensures that planning takes a positive approach to enabling high quality development and delivers long lasting benefits for the public while protecting and enhancing natural and cultural resources.

Some planning applications can be decided by officers using their delegated powers; others go to the Planning, Protective Services and Licensing (PPSL) committee, a panel of elected members from the 4 administrative areas of Argyll and Bute who meet on a monthly basis.

Certain types of application go to the PPSL committee. These include:

  • Applications where a senior council officer or councillor has an interest
  • Any application that receives more than 10 individual objections on planning related matters
  • Any application that requires an Area Capacity Evaluation (ACE)
  • Major applications where there is a departure from the local development plan
  • Any application that is deemed to be in the public interest

All PPSL meetings are minuted and these minutes can be found at through the ‘agendas and minutes of meetings’ section of the council website

For further information on the planning process go to

If you want to speak to a planning officer phone 01546 605518