Planning guidance and advice

For developments of up to 3 houses


If you are planning to build a single house or a small housing development of up to 3 houses and part of the proposal involves taking access from the public road, please read our guide on Access to single houses and small housing developments. This document contains guidance on the design and construction of private accesses onto the public road. It is aimed at those submitting a planning application for a single house or a small group of houses where a new adopted road is not required.  It is applicable to both houses in rural locations and in existing residential areas. The checklist which is contained in Appendix 2 of the document should be completed and submitted with planning applications to which this document relates.

House in the countryside

If you are planning on building a single house in the countryside then please read our Housing in the Countryside and Siting and Design guidance. The guidance is used to highlight how we will interpret and implement the policy set out in its development plans relating to the development of housing in the open countryside. The guidance largely covers the implementation of policy within the most pressured “hinterland of towns” area.  It also gives useful advice on siting and design.

Sustainable design

We strive to encourage applicants to opt for buildings that are designed to respond to the local landscape and the local climate. Our Sustainable Design Guide helps make sure that all development is well-designed, sustainable and sympathetic to its environment.


If your proposal lies within a particularly sensitive area then you may have to submit a 'drainage statement' or a ‘drainage impact assessment’. Development proposals within or bordering medium to high risk flood areas will have to be accompanied by a ‘flood risk assessment’. Flood Risk and Drainage Impact Assessment offers guidance on drainage and flooding issues and the preparation of the documents mentioned previously.

Trees and woodland

Planning proposals should consider the impact of development on existing trees and woodlands and identify opportunities for the planting and management of new trees and woodlands. Trees, Woodland and Development Supplementary Guidance.

Public health and safety

There are a range of public health and safety factors that need to be assessed when considering development proposals, covering issues such as noise, odour, slope, stability and pollution. Where these factors put human health and safety at risk, they are classed as physical constraints to development. Our Physical Constraints Supplementary Guidance provides developers with an up-to-date list of constraints.

Waste management

Managing Waste in New Developments guidance helps developers incorporate waste management requirements at the initial design stage of any proposed development, in the same way other essential services are considered.

Protected species

Guidance on Highland Statutorily Protected Species has been prepared to help applicants when considering development in relation to their responsibilities towards protected species. Key species to be aware of, the varying levels of protection afforded to them and how they should be dealt with in a development proposal so as to avoid breaking the law and to further the conservation of biodiversity.  

Conservation areas

If your proposal is within a Conservation Area, National Scenic Area, Site of a Scheduled Monument, within the area surrounding a Category A listed building, historic garden or designed landscape or World Heritage Site it's likely you'll need to submit a design statement with your application. Design Statements and Design and Access Statements advice note

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