What happens after you submit an application

In light of the ongoing situation relating to COVID-19 we are no longer operating under business as usual in order to focus on priority and statutory services. The Highland Council is planning for greatly increased staff absence levels over the coming days and weeks.

Staff will be working remotely, so capacity and access to our usual systems will be significantly limited. It may therefore take longer to process planning applications, building warrants, and related aspects of the Planning and Building Standards service including customer queries, complaints and public comments during this period.  Your patience and understanding is appreciated.

Once we receive your application we will contact you if we need more information. Once we are happy your application is complete we send an acknowledgement letter. We aim to make a decision within 8 weeks for small scale (local) applications and 16 weeks for large-scale (major) applications.

  1. The application is checked and allocated to a planning officer. Your acknowledgement letter will give you the name and contact details of the planner dealing with your application
  2. Neighbours within a 20 metre radius of the application site will be notified of the application and given 21 days to comment. Comments will be published on our ePlanning system
  3. Sometimes applications will need to be advertised by us in the local paper. You may need to pay an extra charge for advertising
  4. We may consult various agencies and specialists for advice on your proposal such as Scottish Water, SEPA, BEAR Scotland, Forestry Officer or Conservation Officer.  Responses will be published on our ePlanning system
  5. The officer will usually carry out a site visit. The applicant does not normally need to be present for this 
  6. The officer will consider all relevant policies, the views of consultees, and comments and objections submitted by members of the public. In some cases, negotiation may take place between the planner and the applicant to address any issues raised. Revised drawings may need to be submitted. If the changes are significant we may notify neighbours again 
  7. When a decision can be made, the officer will write a report making a recommendation to grant or refuse the application. In most cases the decision is delegated to the area manager, but sometimes the decision is made by the Planning Applications Committee
  8. When a decision has been made you will be sent the decision notice. If it is granted it may include certain conditions which must be completed before any development can be done. Failure to comply could lead to enforcement action being taken against you 
  9. We will also write to anyone who has written to formally comment on an application to let them know what decision has been taken 
  10. For some applications you will also be sent a ‘Notice of Initiation of Development’  form which you should complete and return before starting any works, and a ‘Notice of Completion of Development’ form which should be completed after your development is complete  
  11. How to appeal a planning decision