Applicability of NPF4 Assessment to all Applications
This note sets out some of the implications of the adoption of NPF4 in relation to how the Council process and assess 'major' planning applications within the influence of Clyde Mission.
Following the adoption of NPF4, the Scottish Government have made it clear that applications will be assessed against NPF4 as an operational and extant part of the Development Plan irrespective of whether an application was submitted before or after the date NPF4 was adopted. Therefore, the trigger for whether the proposal is assessed against NPF4 is the date of determination of the application rather than the date of submission. For the avoidance of doubt, this includes applications where the Council have confirmed an intention to approve subject to the completion of a legal agreement (minded to grant status).
This means that all applications are being assessed, including in some cases retrospectively, to ensure their compliance with NFP4 policies. Where a conflict with an NPF4 policy is identified this will, where necessary, involve re-assessment of the proposal and may require new engagement with applicants to address any newly identified policy conflict.
One of the other implications of the adoption of NPF4 relates to the designation of Clyde Mission as a National Development. The Clyde Mission Statement of Need sets out that the status applies to the "The River and land immediately next to it (up to up to around 500m from the river)" and specifies that any Major application falling within this geographical area and matching a broad set of characteristics is automatically deemed to be redesignated as a National Development as defined in the Hierarchy of Developments.
The Council's Scheme of Delegation currently sets out that all National Developments are to be determined by the Planning Applications Committee and are not subject to delegated authority for officers to determine.
Development Management Regulations specify that prior to the determination of National Development applications, the Council must offer applicants, and any other parties who have made representations on an application, the opportunity to present to a Pre-Determination Hearing prior to the determination of the application. Should any of these parties request a Pre-Determination Hearing then this will be conducted in advance of the Planning Applications Committee deliberating on and determining the application. It should be noted that the Council's protocol is that the pre-determination hearing will take place at the same meeting where the case will be presented to committee and determined.
All parties should note that the updated Development Management Regulations no longer require National Developments to be presented to Full Council for final determination and the Planning Applications Committee's decision on the application will represent the Planning Authority's final decision.
As set out above, applications that the Planning Authority were minded to grant prior to the adoption of NFP4 will be re-assessed against NFP4 policies and may require further consideration should the proposal generate a policy conflict.
However, where such cases have been assessed and given minded to grant status under delegated authority, it is the Council's stance that, provided the application does not generate any significant conflict in terms of NPF4 policy, it will not seek a new determination at committee nor will stakeholders be offered the opportunity of a Pre-Determination Hearing.
This is because deliberation will be considered to have concluded with no new matters being raised in respect of the updated development Plan (NPF4). In such circumstances it would be disproportionate, and generate considerable uncertainty, for these applications to be returned to determination stage by a different decision-making process.