Scottish Agriculture as a whole is presently in a transition phase due to the proposed reduction of Single Farm Payments.

Planning is becoming an increasingly topical issue within rural Scotland. The demand for development in rural locations has significantly increased over the past decade. This, combined with the poor state of the agricultural industry and the large monetary rewards on offer from development, has contributed towards a dramatic increase in participation and activity within the planning process, even despite the credit crunch. 

At McCrae & McCrae Ltd we have our very own team of competent town and country planners and consultants who can take you step by step through the various stages. From finding and securing the ideal site, to introducing you to the architect, to composing and submitting planning applications, we have an abundance of experience, knowledge, vision, pro-active outlook and innovative thinking. We acknowledge that planning decisions can have major monetary benefits to our clients and therefore strive to ensure success

We also work in conjunction with our estate agents and farming consultants advising and seeking sites and land that are suitable for conversion or inclusion within Local Plans which can, in effect, change the value of such sites from agricultural values to residential and development values of up to £800,000 per acre.

Securing planning permission is a relatively long-term process. We believe it is important to sew the planning ‘seed’ early in the process. This can be done by means of submitting a pre-application letter to the planners outlining the proposed development. We offer free pre-planning consultations to ascertain whether your property has any scope for development.

We compose and submit outline applications. In order to compose an application we will visit the site, fill in the application forms, compose a detailed plan annexing the proposed development site, carry out neighbour notification and liaise with the necessary council departments (eg roads department). 

After securing outline planning consent, the next stage in the planning process is to apply for detailed planning consent. We have close associations with a number of renowned architects with good relationships with respective councils whom we can liaise with to complete outline applications. 

Scotland's planning system is a two-tier system with structure plans and local plans. The Scottish Government composes Planning Policies which include; Scottish Planning Policies (SPPs), Planning Advice Notes (PANs) and government circulars. The structure plan then interprets the national policies and applies them to the regions (eg Perth and Kinross Structure Plan). Local plans are accountable and to a certain extent heavily influenced by the structure plan and national polices. 

If you are intending to develop any land (regardless of size of development) it is important that you refer to the local plan, which will likely determine whether your development will be successful in secure planning permission. In determining planning applications, the local plan is the main material consideration which will determine the application(s) outcome.  Therefore, it is important that your proposed development complies with the local plan or is included within the settlement envelope. Once a site has been zoned within the local plan this will effectively ‘rubber stamp’ development at the planning application stage.

Each local plan is reviewed every five years or so. It is vital to submit planning representations to try to secure zoning of the land in the draft local plan. It is often worth attending local plan public inquiries to push to have your land zoning ratified or, if it is not in the draft local plan, there is an appeal process to have it zoned.

We compose and submit planning representation within both local and structure plans. We have made a significant number of representations to Perth & Kinross, Angus, Fife, Dumfries & Galloway, East Lothian, West Lothian, Midlothian and North Lanarkshire Councils. 

The Scottish Government has acknowledged there is currently a high demand for housing within the countryside and has more actively promoted responsible residential development in sustainable locations. Accordingly, the Scottish Government has published Scottish Planning Policy 15: Planning for Rural Development and Planning Advice Note 72: Housing in the countryside. Both adopt a proactive and positive way of thinking towards residential development in rural areas. SPP 15 encourages residential development of small scale sites which are no longer used for their original purpose. Examples where new build development would be encouraged would include; former sawmills, brickworks, walled gardens, disused poultry sheds and farm steadings which lie within village envelopes. 

Similarly, farm steadings, former water mills, ruins and brick buildings can also accommodate residential development by means of conversion.  Therefore if you have any property suitable for potential conversion or for new build sites, we would ask you to contact us to discuss their planning potential.