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Making an application

All planning applications in the National Park are made to the relevant local authority. Most are also decided by the local authority. If the application is big or important to the National Park then it will be 'called-in' and decided by the National Park Authority.

Planning Applications in the Cairngorms National Park

All planning applications in the Cairngorms National Park are made to the planning department of the local authority that the proposal is within. Each of the five local authorities that make up the National Park notify the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) of all planning applications made in the National Park.

The CNPA has 21 days to decide whether to ‘call in’ and determine a planning application. If an application is called in, The CNPA notifies the council, the applicant and any consultees that it has called in the application. You can find out more about the types of application that the CNPA is likely to call in from this Advice Note. You can also view lists of the applications the CNPA has ‘called in’.

All planning applications in the National Park are assessed against the Cairngorms National Park Local Development Plan 2021 (LDP) whether it is the CNPA or the local authority that makes the decision. The CNPA prepares the LDP and other planning guidance for the National Park and all five local authorities as well as the CNPA use them to decide planning applications in the National Park.

How do I make a planning application?

Planning applications have to be submitted to the relevant local authority. The local authority checks that the application includes all the information needed to determine it and registers receipt of the application. Once the application is registered, they will also tell CNPA that they have received it.  Your local authority planning department will have planning application forms and advice on how to make a planning application. You can also make a planning application online through the Scottish Government ePlanning portal.

Advice before you make a planning application

You can also ask your local authority planning department for ‘pre-application advice’ that will tell you exactly what information you need to include with your application.  The advice you get will also say whether your planning application is likely to be approved or refused.

Who determines my application?

If your application is called in by the CNPA, then a planning officer will process your application and make a recommendation to the CNPA Planning Committee.  It is the CNPA Planning Committee who make the final decision. If you application is not called in then it may be decided by the local authority planning department staff if it is small, or by the local authority’s own Planning Committee if it is larger or if many people object to it.

What will my application be assessed on?

Your application will be assessed against the Cairngorms National Park Local Development Plan 2021 (LDP) and any Supplementary Guidance or other planning guidance that is relevant. If your application does everything the policies in the LDP say developments must do or must not do, then planning permission will be granted.  If it doesn’t, then it may be refused or have conditions placed on it.

How long will it take to process my application?

The time it takes to process your application will depend on how complicated it is and whether you have provided all the right information.  The Scottish Government sets targets for the time that planning authorities should determine planning applications within.  Most applications have a target of two months and larger applications have a target of four months.  If your application is called in by the CNPA, you will be offered a Processing Agreement to set out what you need to do to make sure it be determined and when it will be determined.

Can I come to the Planning Committee?

Yes. The CNPA Planning Committee meetings are in public and any member of the public can attend.  You can also speak to the Planning Committee in support of your application.  You will be sent instructions on how to ask to speak at the Planning Committee if you application is called-in by the CNPA.

Can I appeal a refusal of my planning application or conditions on a planning permission?

Yes. You have three months from the date a decision is sent to you to appeal a refusal of your application or any conditions that have been attached to your planning permission.  You can also appeal if your application has not been determined within the timescales set out by Scottish Government or agreed with the planning authority. If the decision you want to appeal was taken by your local authority planning department, then you can appeal to their Local Review Body.  The decision notice that confirms your refusal will explain how to appeal.  If your application was determined by the CNPA, you can appeal to the Scottish Ministers through the Department for Planning and Environmental Appeals.  Your decision notice will explain how to appeal it.

Viewing the progress of your planning application

You can see the progress of your planning applications on the website of the planning authority who will decide them.  If an application is called by the CNPA, the information about it will be soon become available on our Planning Applications page.

Do you have any other questions?

You can also contact our planning team in our Grantown office on 01479 873535 or email [email protected]. The planning team are available Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.