The advice below provides information on different aspects of the planning process
How to make a planning application
How can I apply?
You can apply online via the ePlanning.scot website
Please fill out the forms carefully as failure to provide all of the information required may result in a delay in determining your application.
If we do require additional information we will contact you by letter. If the requested information is not provided within 21 days we may treat the application as having been withdrawn or refuse it on the grounds of insufficient information.
What do I need to include?
In addition to the application and ownership forms, You will need to submit a location plan with your application. This is usually a 1:1250 Ordnance Survey plan or similar. The application site must be edged clearly with a red line. It should include all land necessary to carry out the proposed development. For householder applications the red line will usually be the same as your property boundary.
A blue line must be drawn around any other land owned or controlled by the applicant close to or adjoining the site.
You must provide adequate drawings to illustrate clearly what you are proposing. These should be to scale and may include block plans, elevations, floor plans and cross-sections, all depending on what you propose to do.
Details to show in plans
If you are proposing new or extended buildings (including house extensions), a change of use, or any development which would affect parking or access, you should include details of the existing and proposed parking and access arrangements. For development affecting access onto a public road you may also need to show visibility splays and gradients. Pedestrian and cycle access and facilities should also be shown if relevant.
Drawings should also accurately show any changes to existing site levels and levels adjoining to the site. Significant trees and shrubs that will be lost or retained within or adjacent to the site should also be shown.
Additional supporting documents
Some applications may require additional information because of the particular nature of the proposal or the site. For example: a design statement may be required for a significant development in a conservation area, a flood risk assessment for a site within a flood plain, or a wildlife/habitat survey for a site with a nature conservation interest. We are always happy to discuss requirements before you make an application.
There are special consultation procedures for very large applications (e.g. 50 or more new houses). Some large applications may require special technical reports such as environmental, transport or retail impact assessments.
What will it cost?
Planning fees are set by the Scottish Government and depend on the nature and scale of the work proposed. For householder applications there is usually a flat fee of £202.00 but there are some exemptions for disability adaptations and repeat applications. View the scale of fees
In some cases an advert in the local press is required because of the nature of the application or for neighbour notification purposes, in which case there is an additional advertising fee of £125.00.
Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas
If your proposal relates to a listed building you will usually need listed building consent as well as planning permission. Some proposals in conservation areas also need conservation area consent. A particularly high standard of design is usually needed for such developments.
What other consents may be required?
Many developments which need planning permission also need a building warrant. You should check with the Building Standards team for advice.
If your property is rented or affects someone else’s land then you will need the owner’s consent. For council houses you should contact the Housing Service for landlord’s consent.
Where can I find out more?
If your work includes creating or altering an access then you may require a road opening permit from the Roads Service.
The e-Planning.scot website provides guidance on all the applications you can submit
All national planning regulations and national policy is available on the Scottish Government website
Specific guidance about West Dunbartonshire planning policies and procedures, and good practice advice notes, are available on the Council website.
Planning procedure for processing planning applications
What is planning permission for?
Planning tries to ensure that land is developed in the best possible way for the whole community’s long term benefit. This often involves balancing competing and conflicting interests.
- To guide development towards appropriate locations
- To encourage regeneration and high quality development
- To protect our natural and built heritage
- To create vibrant places for people to live, work and visit
- To ensure that development is sustainable
To help us do this consistently, we have policies and guidance in the Glasgow and Clyde Valley Strategic Development Plan, the West Dunbartonshire Local Development Plan, and supplementary planning guidance.
What happens to an application?
New applications are checked to ensure that all the documents, plans and fees required by the law have been included. All information must be provided before processing can start.
Consultation & Publicity
Consultations are sent to various bodies to obtain their view (e.g. Environmental Health, Roads Service, Scottish Natural Heritage, etc.). Letters are sent to immediate neighbours to advise them of the application and invite comments. In some circumstances a notice is published in the local newspaper and posted on the site.
The planning officer assigned to the case inspects the site and assesses the proposal, taking into account planning policies, consultation responses and public representations.
If problems are identified with the proposal which could be addressed by amending it, the case officer will contact the applicant to discuss whether this will be possible.
Most straightforward applications are decided within 2 months.
Who decides the application?
Most applications, and in particular householder applications, are decided by Planning officials under ’delegated powers’. The case officer prepares a report and recommendation, and the application is decided by a senior officer.
In certain situations, such as where approval would be contrary to a high number of objections, contrary to policy or would be otherwise contentious, applications are decided by the Planning Committee. The case officer prepares a report and recommendation but the Committee makes the final decision, having weighed up all matters.
If an application is to be decided by the Committee the applicant and any objectors will advised in advance of the time and venue. Where there are objections, the applicant or an objector can request a hearing so that they can address the Committee before the decision is made. Hearings are designed to be fair, with both the objectors and the applicant being given a chance to speak, usually limited to 5 minutes each.
What is taken into account?
The Council is required by law to limit the matters it takes into account to the development plan (i.e. the strategic and local development plans), and to other “material considerations”. The application must be determined in accordance with the development plan, unless there are material considerations which outweigh the plan. It is therefore useful to be aware of the content of the development plan prior to submitting an application.
Precisely what does and does not qualify as a “material consideration” is not defined by the law, but two general rules are that the issue must be:
- Relevant to planning (i.e. the use or development of land), and;
- Relevant to the application
Such matters usually include the impact on the surrounding area, environment, and infrastructure. Matters which cannot be taken into account include who is applying, their past history and the possible effect of the development on property values.
The applicant (or agent, if there is one) will be sent a decision notice. If permission has been granted this may be subject to conditions, in which case these will be included in the decision notice. If the application has been refused the decision notice will explain the reasons why the application was refused.
A planning permission will normally allow 3 years to start the development, after which permission will lapse if work has not commenced on the site.
The applicant must submit formal notices to the Development Management before the development starts and once the development is completed. These notices are attached to the decision notice.
Appeals and Reviews
Applicants who are unhappy about a refusal or conditions attached to a permission have a right to challenge the decision within 3 months of the date of the decision notice. Details of how to do this are provided on decision notices.
For applications determined under delegated powers, the applicant can apply for a review of the decision by the West Dunbartonshire Local Review Body. Forms and guidance can be found on our Appeals and Review page.
For applications determined by the Planning Committee (and for listed building or conservation area consents) the applicant can appeal to the Scottish Ministers.
Has an application been submitted
All planning applications carry with them the duty to notify the owners and occupants of neighbouring properties. In general terms, "neighbours" are persons having an interest in land within 20 metres of the application site boundary. Neighbour notification advises of the submission of an application, where to inspect its details and how to make comment. You do not have to be neighbour notified to comment on a proposal. Certain types of application are placed in the "public notices" section of a local newspaper, giving the same information. If you receive a 'notice to neighbours' on a standard form from the council, it will tell you that an application has been submitted. A site plan will also be included showing the location of the proposal. If you are in doubt you should contact Development Management at Aurora House, Clydebank.
Neighbours are not provided with a full set of the plans submitted, and it is therefore necessary to inspect the application in order to be clear about the exact nature and extent of the proposal.
Commenting on an application
Anyone can comment on an application. Comments on applications can be made using the Council's online planning register. First find the application in question and then select the 'Make a Comment on this Application' option at the top of the page. Alternatively you can Contact Us.
The Council should receive your comments during the published consultation period or they could be too late to be considered. The consultation deadline will be specified in the neighbour notification or the press advert. Contact the Case Officer for advice if you are unable to comment within the time specified. For applications going to Planning Committee, representations should be received 21 days before the Committee date, or they may not be included in the officer's report. Late representations will be reported to the Committee verbally but it is at the Committee's discretion whether or not they will be considered.
Before submitting any comments on a planning application it is recommended that you read the guidance below on how to comment and in particular the section on Planning Matters. This section provides some examples of issues which are deemed relevant and should be given consideration during the processing of a planning application and other examples we cannot consider. Please note that any comments/representations made by you will be available for public inspection and will be published on the on-line register.
We can only consider planning matters in dealing with an application, such as:
- planning policies
- Character/Design of the area
- character of the building
- noise and disturbance
- significant loss of light
- loss of privacy
- traffic generation and road safety car parking
we cannot consider:
- loss of view
- property values
- personal disagreements
- boundary disputes, and title restrictions
How your objection will be dealt with
All objections and comments will be acknowledged. If the application is determined by the planning committee, objectors and the applicant are advised of the intended committee date and who to contact if they wish to address committee and the procedure to enable you to take part in the hearing, should you wish. (The hearing procedure allows objectors and applicants to speak directly to the committee deciding the application). If the date of the hearing is altered, you will be informed of the revised date.
In all cases the content of representations will be summarised in a committee Report and presented to the Committee making the decision. The Planning Committee takes into account all representations when determining an application; however these will be one of a number of factors which will influence the eventual decision. The author and content of any objection or comment cannot be withheld from the applicant. A copy of all comments or representation will be kept on file and can be made available to the public under a Freedom of Information request.
Although we will take into account all of the letters received, due to staff resources and the volume of letters, it is not always possible to respond individually to queries raised or meet interested parties. All those who made a representation to the application will be advised of the decision made on an application.
Tellme Scotland is a portal for accessing public information notices issued by local authorities across Scotland. It allows you to:
- Search for public notices such as planning and licensing in your area
- Check roadworks and restrictions on any route that you choose
- Search archived notices across the country
- Register to receive alerts by text or email on notices in your area
Customer Satisfaction Survey
As part of our commitment to improve the quality of the service we provide and would appreciate it if you would complete a short survey. Once the survey period has closed a report of the survey findings will be made available on the council's website. Your response is completely anonymous and personal details will not be published.