ScotWays recently submitted comments on Scottish Government plans to relax the planning controls on certain developments in relation to existing residential properties, thus reducing the need for planning applications.

As part of their proposals for modernisation of the planning system, the Scottish Government intend to remove a number of minor householder planning applications from the planning system. It is hoped this will allow individuals more freedom to develop their property and planning authorities to allocate resources to more significant developments, while retaining an appropriate level of planning control.

Our main concerns with the proposed changes to permitted development rights are about possible encroachment of development over public rights of way or core paths, and possible limitations on how the public can exercise statutory rights of access to land. We are aware that this can already be a problem under the existing permitted development rights. This can occur both within settlements and in rural settings.

John Mackay, ScotWays Director said, “We think that this issue is best addressed by an addition to the general conditions, to the effect that permitted development rights do not apply where the development encroaches on or otherwise impedes passage along a public right of way or core path, or impedes the exercise by the public of access rights under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003.”

If you would like to read more about the Householder Permitted Development Rights Consultation Paper, visit