The glossary defines some of the terms used in the text of Local Plans.
Accessibility: The ability of people to have access to goods, services, employment and other facilities. This can be enhanced either by greater proximity of services to people, or by improved communications systems between the two. The latter can involve physical travel or IT related remote systems.
Action area / special initiative: These are sites identified by the Council which are promoted for major development or redevelopment. Development Briefs or Master Plans will be prepared as part of the implementation of the Local Plan in consultation with the public to specify what are the most appropriate scale and type of uses for the sites.
Affordable housing: A segment of the housing market where a proportion of the housing is targeted or reserved for those people who have a special housing requirement and/or who are unable to compete in the existing local market for housing. It covers a spectrum of providers and tenures including housing associations, joint ventures, public sector and owner occupation.
Allocation: Land identified in a Local Plan as appropriate for a specific land use.
Amenity housing: Housing that has been moderately adapted for those with special needs, such as the elderly or disabled.
Ancient monument: A monument or site of archaeological importance which is in the guardianship of the Scottish Ministers.
Areas of Great Landscape Value (AGLV): Area designated by a planning authority in accordance with Scottish Office Circular 2/1962 for its regional or locally important scenic character or quality.
Article 4 Direction: Some types of development do not need planning permission. An Article 4 Direction is an order made by Scottish Ministers which suspends (for specified types of development) the general permission granted under the Town and Country (General Permitted Development) (Scotland) Order 1992 (as amended).
Article 10 Features: Wildlife habitat features which provide “corridors” or “stepping stones” between habitat areas and that help plants and wildlife to move from one area to another. Examples include rivers and their banks, areas of woodland and traditional field boundaries. Protecting and managing these areas through the land use planning system is promoted in Article 10 of the Conservation (Natural Habitats) Regulations 1994.
Biodiversity: The total range of the variety of life forms on earth or any given part of it, the ecological roles they perform, and the genetic diversity they contain.
Brownfield site: A site which has previously been developed or used for some purpose which has ended. It may include:
- Reusing existing building by converting them
- Demolishing buildings and building new ones
- Clearing empty land and building new buildings; and
- Infill developments
Circulars: Statements of Government policy containing guidance on policy implementation through legislative or procedural change.
Communities Scotland: Public body with a remit for social and special needs housing provision.
Community planning: A process through which The Council comes together with other organisations to plan, provide for and promote the future wellbeing of the area. The Community Plan builds on a vision for the future of the area and how the public agencies will work in partnership to achieve the vision.
Community woodland: A community woodland is one partly or completely controlled by the local community, through a Community Woodland Group. The woodland may be owned or leased by the group, or managed in partnership with another organisation, such as Forest Enterprise.
Commuted sum: One-off payment made instead of providing facilities or a service, and which takes away responsibility to make such provision.
Comparison goods: Books, clothing and footwear, furniture, floor coverings and household textiles, radio, electrical and other durable goods, hardware, and DIY supplies, chemist’s goods, jewellery, silverware, watches and clocks, recreational and other miscellaneous goods.
Compatible use: A use which involves no change to the culturally significant fabric, changes which are substantially reversible, or changes which require a minimal impact.
Conservation: All the processes of looking after a place so as to retain its cultural significance. It includes maintenance and may according to circumstances include preservation, restoration, reconstruction and adaption and will be commonly a combination of more than one of these.
Conservation Areas: Areas of special architectural or historic interest, the character of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance.
Contaminated land: Land that has been polluted by, for example, former heavy industrial uses.
Convenience goods: A term used in retailing to indicate goods purchased for regular consumption. Includes food, groceries, drink, confectionery, tobacco, newsprint.
Core paths network: The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 requires local authorities to prepare a plan for a system of “core paths” to give people reasonable access throughout their area. Section 17 of the Act provides the definition of what a system of core paths may include.
Density: The intensity of development in a given area. Usually measured, for housing, in terms of number of dwellings per hectare. Net residential density is measured as the number of dwelling units per hectare of land developed specifically for housing and directly associated uses. This includes access roads within the site, private garden space, car parking and incidental open space/landscaping.
Derelict Land: There is no statutory definition of derelict land, but it is defined administratively as "land so damaged by industrial or other development that it is incapable of beneficial use without treatment".
Development: The carrying out of building, mining, engineering or other operation in, on, over or under the land or the making of any material change of use in the use of any buildings or land.
Developer contributions: Payments made to the council or another agency, or work in kind, to help improve the infrastructure (roads, open space, waste-water treatment, and restoring worked-out mineral sites) so that the development can go ahead.
Development brief: A detailed document for an area allocated for development in a local plan. The brief provides information to possible developers on issues such as the preferred siting, design and layout of buildings, and the need for associated infrastructure and services.
Development factors: The factors that we must take into account when deciding where development can take place and the nature of that development.
Development Plan: The Highland Structure Plan along with any of the Local Plans prepared by The Highland Council. Section 37 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 sets out the status of the development plan in assessing planning applications. It provides that:-"in dealing with an application the authority shall have regard to the provisions of the development plan, so far as material to the application, and to any other material considerations".
Development Plan Policy Guideline: Document, supplementary to the Structure Plan and Local Plan, which contains more detailed policy guidance applying throughout the Highland area.
Eco-tourism: environmentally responsible travel that benefits nature and local communities.
Environmental Assessment: A process by which the environmental effects of a development proposal by virtue of such factors as nature, size and location are systematically assessed, also giving consideration to alternative solutions and mitigating measures.
Forest Enterprise: Manages and maintains Scotland's woods and forests. Their tasks include planting, forest design, marketing timber and providing facilities and access for the public.
Formal open space: An area of land maintained for organised sport and recreation, play space for youths and children and as formally landscaped areas.
Fragile areas: Areas which are in decline or in danger of becoming so as a consequence of remoteness and socio-economic factors, such as population loss, erosion of services and facilities and lack of employment opportunities. In some area the natural heritage is a dominant influence on appropriate land management.
Fragile countryside: As above.
Framework plan: An outline plan (prepared by public agencies) that provides guidance on how a large site should be developed, including issues such as landscaping, access and internal layout.
General strategic policies: Policies set out in the Highland Structure Plan. We assess all development proposals against these policies so that development might be sustainable. They reflect the need to take account of:
- The community, the economy and environmental interests;
- The importance of development which benefits local communities; and the need to work with our partners to achieve the plan’s aims and objectives.
Greenfield site: Presently undeveloped land, in use, or generally capable of being brought into active or beneficial use for agricultural, forestry or amenity purposes.
Habitat: The environment in which a species lives.
Natural heritage zones: areas that share similar natural heritage characteristics and are defined on the basis of information on species and habitats, landscape character and geographical factors.
Historic Gardens and Design Landscapes: Areas that have been set out and planted in the past (mostly within the last 200-300 years) and which are still recognizable as representative of a particular style or quality of period.
Historic Scotland: The body responsible for safeguarding Scotland's built heritage. This includes giving legal protection to monuments and buildings and giving grants and advice to help sustain Scotland's built heritage.
Home zones: an attempt to strike a balance between vehicular traffic and everyone else who uses the street, the pedestrians, cyclists, business people and residents.
Housing for varying needs: housing designed to be barrier free internally to ensure that a wide range of needs can be met.
Housing requirement: The number of housing units for which land must be identified to meet future demand. We work this out by considering market demand, changes in the number of people and households, the existing housing stock and the existing availability of land for housing.
Ineffective housing stock: Housing which is not lived in permanently because it is empty or a second or holiday home.
Infill development/site: An area which can accommodate a limited number of dwellings within a small gap in existing development.
Informal open space: An area of land maintained as informal open space and often available for public use for activities such as walking, cycling and horse riding.
Infrastructure: The basic services needed to support development. These include roads access, schools, water and sewage facilities.
Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes: Produced by Historic Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage to detail significant gardens and designed landscapes in an area.
Key agency: A public body separate from the Council, with a remit for matters related to the wellbeing of much of the population, e.g. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), responsible for the protection of the environment; Scottish Water, responsible for the treatment of waste and provision of clean water; and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), with a remit to secure the conservation and enhancement of Scotland’s unique and precious natural heritage, i.e. wildlife, habitats and landscapes.
Landfill/form: Landfill being an area of land identified for the deposit of waste. Landform being the deposit of waste on or above the existing contours of the ground.
Landscape Character Assessment: An analytical technique which identifies, describes and maps areas classified according to various landscape character types. The forces of change in each type are then assessed, together with an evaluation of the capacity to accommodate change without altering its intrinsic character.
Listed buildings: The Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1997 requires the compilation of a list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest. The purpose of listing is to ensure that a building’s special architectural and/or historic interest is fully recognised and that any demolition, alteration or repair that would affect its character is brought under statutory control.
Local Agenda 21: An internationally recognised approach for developing a mechanism for the delivery of sustainable development. The Government has called on all local authorities to implement a Local Agenda 21 strategy by December 2000.
LBAP: Local Biodiversity Action Plan. A process rather than a plan which seeks to ensure that nationally and locally important species and habitats are conserved and enhanced in a given area through focused local action.
Local centre: Part of the settlement hierarchy within Highland.
Local Housing Development Fora: A group of council services, public agencies, housing associations and other housing-related interests which regularly meet to consider the need for and opportunities for affordable housing.
Local Plan: Part of the Development Plan. Comprises a Written Statement and a Proposals Map. The Written Statement includes the Authority’s detailed policies and proposals for the development and use of land together with reasoned justification for these proposals. The Local Plan must be in general conformity with the Structure Plan.
Local Plan or Public Local Inquiry: Held before a Reporter appointed by the Council to consider formal objections to the Local Plan.
Maintenance: The continuous protective care of the fabric, contents and setting of a place, and is to be distinguished from repair. Repair involves restoration or reconstruction and it should be treated accordingly.
Master Plan: a document that explains how a site or series of sites will be developed. It will describe how the proposal will be implemented, and set out the costs, phasing and timing of development. A master plan will usually be prepared by or on behalf of an organisation that owns the site or controls the development process.
Material consideration: Matters we must consider when making a decision on a planning application. Scottish Executive guidance states that there are two main tests in deciding whether a consideration is material and relevant:
- “It should serve or be related to the purpose of planning – it should therefore relate to the development and use of the land.
- It should fairly and reasonably relate to the particular application.”
Although the person making the decision needs to consider whether a matter is material, it is ultimately a matter for the courts to decide.
Multi-modal transport nodes: A place where more than one form of transport converges.
National Nature Reserve: Site of national nature conservation importance, managed or owned by Scottish Natural Heritage and established under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 and Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
National Planning Policy Guideline (NPPG)/ Scottish Planning Policy (SPP): Statements of Government policy on nationally important land use and other planning matters, supported where appropriate by a locational framework.
National Scenic Area (NSA): Areas of outstanding scenic value and beauty in a national context, designated by the Secretary of State through Circulars 20/1980 and 9/1987 as appropriate for additional protection.
Natura 2000: A network of marine and terrestrial areas of international importance designed to conserve natural habitats and species of plants and animals that are rare, endangered or vulnerable in the context of the European Community.
Outline Planning Permission: Confirms the principle of developing land for a given land use, normally for a period of three years.
Peripherality: Distance from the economic heartland of the European Union measured in time, distance and expense.
Permitted development rights: These relate to certain types of development (usually minor) which do not need planning permission but are classed as being granted planning permission through the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Scotland) Order 1992 (as amended).
Plan period: The time period within which the plan will operate.
Planning Conditions: Requirements attached to a grant of planning permission in order to ensure the effective and proper implementation of any given development.
Planning Advice Note (PAN): PANs provide advice on good practice on planning matters as well as other relevant information.
Policy: A statement of The Council’s attitudes or intentions, relating to a particular issue or site.
Precautionary principle: The principle that authorities should act cautiously to avoid damaging the environment or wellbeing of communities (in a way that cannot be reversed) in situations where the scientific evidence is not proven but the possible damage could be significant.
Preservation: Maintaining the fabric of a place in its existing state and retarding deterioration.
Primary Industry: Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing, Energy and Water Supply Industries.
Prime agricultural land: Land defined by the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute as grades 1, 2 and 3.1 or lower grade agricultural land which is scarce in a local context and hence which is locally important.
Proposal: An intended action of significance to the Plan area, to be carried out by The Council itself or in partnership with other public agencies and private bodies.
Proposals Map: A map illustrating each of the detailed policies and proposals in the written Statement, defining sites for particular developments or land uses (see Local Plan).
Public Open Space: General term including all space for formal and informal recreation activities with access generally open to the public.
Ramsar site: A wetland area of international importance for birds protected through the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (1979).
Recommendation: A request by The Council to other bodies to take action on matters outwith The Council’s control. A recommendation is an indication of The Highland Council’s views on a specific subject and is not legally binding.
Reconstruction: Returning a place as nearly as possible to a known state and is distinguished by the introduction of materials (new or old) into the fabric. This is not to be confused with either recreation or conjectural reconstruction, which are outside the scope of this Charter.
Registered Social Landlord (RSL): A landlord registered with Communities Scotland. They are organisations that provide housing for let but they do not trade for profit. The most common form of RSL in Scotland is a Housing Association.
Rehabilitate: To bring back into use a derelict or semi-derelict building.
Restoration: Returning the EXISTING fabric of a place to a known earlier state by removing accretions or by reassembling existing components without the introduction of new material.
Safer routes to school: Safer Routes to School, or a school travel plan, is a school based approach which aims to improve safety and remove barriers to walking and cycling to and from school.
Scheduled Ancient Monument: Designated by the First Minister under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979, being a monument of public interest by reason of the historic, architectural, traditional, artistic or archaeological interests attracting in it.
Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA): responsible for the protection of the environment.
Scottish Executive: National Government in Scotland.
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH): Public body with a remit to secure the conservation and enhancement of Scotland’s unique and precious natural heritage, i.e. wildlife, habitats and landscapes.
Section 75 Agreement (Planning Agreement): A legal agreement made between the landowner and the planning authority (often with other parties) which restricts or regulates the development or use of land. It is normally used to agree and to secure contributions from developers. The Section 75 agreement was previously referred to as a Section 50 agreement.
Secure by design: a UK police initiative designed to help create safer, more secure environments. To be awarded Secured by Design status, developments must meet a set of core principles:
- environmental quality and sense of ownership;
- natural surveillance;
- access and footpaths;
- lighting; and
- open space provision and management.
Sequential test: A process for the assessment of development options whereby it must be demonstrated why a preferred option is being set aside for a less favourable option is permission is to be granted. This means that where there is a choice, there is a presumption in favour, for example, of the reuse of previously developed brownfield locations as opposed to greenfield locations, to a protection of the more valuable, natural environments and within the context of retail development, to the use of town centre and edge of centre sites before out of town sites are considered.
Settlements: Those communities identified through the Structure Plan settlement hierarchy.
Settlement boundaries: Boundaries of towns and villages identified in the Local plan to define the extent of policies and proposals relating to that particular town or village.
Settlement hierarchy: The definition of settlements within the Highland Structure Plan as “regional”, “sub regional” or “local centres” depending on the size of their population and the services they contain (for example, education, health, transport and retail).
Sheltered housing: Groups of housing units provided for elderly people who require occasional support and assistance from a resident warden but who do not require full residential care.
Site of Local Nature Conservation Interest: Locally important areas identified following advice and consultation from Scottish Natural Heritage and the Scottish Wildlife Trust.
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI): SSSIs are designated by Scottish Natural Heritage under the provisions of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and are representative or contain the best examples of particular species, habitats, geology or geomorphology. The special interest of the sites is the subject of specific guidelines to protect the interest of the site from damage or deterioration.
Special Area of Conservation (SAC): Designated natural habitat areas to comply with the EEC Directive on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora Directive (92/43/EEC). Member states are required to identify sites for designation and establish measures necessary for conservation. (Together with SPAs, SACs form a network of European sites known as Natura 2000.)
Special Protection Area (SPA): Designated wild bird areas to comply with the EC Directive on the Conservation of Wild Birds - (79/409/EEC). (Together with SACs, SPAs form a network of European Sites known as Natura 2000.)
Structural tree planting: using trees to help integrate development into the landscape.
Structure Plan: The Structure Plan is part of the Development Plan and contains strategic broad-brush policies for local communities.
Sub Regional Centre: The town of Dingwall (and to a lesser extent Invergordon) which contains the main facilities and services for Ross and Cromarty.
Supplementary Planning Guidance: Planning guidance which supplements the policies and proposals of the plan itself, for example housing design guides. Such guidance does not form part of the Local Plan Review.
Sustainable design: Design which reduces the possible negative effects on the environment as far as possible and makes the most of social and economic benefits.
Sustainable development: Sustainable development has been defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. It has increased in importance in both national and European policy guidance and is a pivotal consideration in the planning process.
Sustainable drainage systems: Drainage techniques used with developments to help return excess surface run-off to natural watercourses (rivers, streams, lakes and so on) without negatively affecting people and the environment. These might include ponds or reed beds to hold water before it runs into a watercourse. A Sustainable Urban Drainage System Design Manual was published by CIRIA in 2000 and is supported by Scottish Executive planning guidance.
Telematics: The combination of computer and information technology, which has greatly freed the relationship between the employee and the workspace. For example, the use of computers, fax and telephone linkages has allowed people to work from home or another location remote from their employer.
Town scheme: Grant funding from Historic Scotland to enable skilled repairs for enhancement to a building.
Traffic calming: Physical measures designed to slow traffic to improve environmental and safety conditions for local communities.
Tree Preservation Order: An order preventing the cutting down, topping, lopping, uprooting or wilful damage to a tree/group of trees. The order is made under Section 160 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997.
Use Classes Order: Section 26(2)(f) of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 provides that a change of use does not amount to development, and therefore does not require planning permission, where a former use and the new use are both within the same class specified in an order made under that paragraph. The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) (Scotland) Order, 1997, is the operative order relating to that section of the Act.
Vitality and viability of town centres: Vitality is a reflection of how busy a town centre is in different parts and at different times. Viability is a measure of its capacity to attract ongoing investment, for maintenance, improvement and adaptation to changing needs.
Windfall sites: Development sites which are not identified through forward planning processes but become available for various ad hoc reasons.