A Proposal of Application Notice (PAN) is submitted by the developer to the council. It is not a planning application but a notice to the council advising of how the developer intends to engage with the community about their proposal. This allows the community to put their views directly to the developer before a planning application is submitted.
The Scottish Government has published guidance on pre-application consultations for public events for major development applications and all consultation events must meet these requirements.
Where a Pre-Application Consultation (PAC) is required, a PAN must be submitted to the council at least 12 weeks before the application for planning permission is submitted.
For PAC, developers are required to:
- Undertake at least two public events. The first event should collect views on the proposal and allow the public to feed into the design process. The second event should outline how those views have been addressed through any updated design or mitigation measures. This will allow a full public consultation process prior to submission.
- Advertise each of these events separately in the local paper giving at least seven days notice in accordance with the regulations. It is recommended that agreement on the most appropriate local paper for advertisement is agreed with us in advance. The advert must also meet the minimum requirements set out within the regulations.
- Serve a PAN on the planning authority using the Proposal of Application Notice. This form can be found online. Unfortunately, the PAN notice can’t be submitted through the ePlanning portal, so must be emailed to us with all relevant information.
- Serve a PAN on the community councils whose area covers or adjoins the proposal site and the local council ward members. The useful links below may help identify the relevant community council and ward members.
A PAN notice must include:
- A description in general terms of the development to be carried out.
- If the site at which the development is to be carried out has a postal address, that address. If there is no postal address, provide a suitable address description.
- A plan showing the outline of the site at which the development is to be carried out and sufficient to identify that site.
- Details as to how the prospective applicant may be contacted and corresponded with.
- An account of what consultation the applicant intends to undertake, when such consultation is to take place, with whom and what form it will take.
Public consultation event requirements
It should be made clear to the public that comments submitted to you on the PAN are not representations to the planning authority. Should a planning application be submitted at a later date, there will be an opportunity for the public to make representations on that application to the planning authority.
Published information must be hosted at a central, free, publicly accessible web location (the choice of additional platforms as routes into this location is for the applicant).
This information must:
- Set out the pre-application consultation steps being undertaken, the location of information, how to engage and time limits.
- Identify the location of the development site.
- Present the proposal for the site.
- Be as user-friendly as possible.
For the live events consultations, it is expected that any time-limited consultation sessions would be scheduled to facilitate public participation.
The events must be run for a minimum of three hours and must take place for a period out with the normal working day. This could include taking place at the weekend or running between 4:30pm and 7:30pm or 5pm and 8pm on weekdays.
The event venue must be accessible to all including those with mobility issues. The venue should be in a neutral location where the public feel safe to express their opinions. A building of some nature is required (community facility, library, event space) where the public can sit and take shelter. Consideration should be given to venues which are accessible to public transport and centrally located within settlements or as close to the site as possible.
In addition, consideration should be given when hosting events for people who require accessibility or communication support. For example, people with visual or hearing impairments, people whose first language isn’t English or people with learning disabilities.
The consultation events should link to other opportunities for the public to make comment after the event, to ask questions and receive responses (participants may prefer not to comment during live events or may reflect on the proposal and wish further information).
For a successful PAN event to occur it is important to get as many attendees as possible. The minimum requirements are for the relevant community council(s) and all local ward members to be directly invited. The community council(s) should be provided with a copy of the PAN and at the very least notified of the public event seven days prior to the event occurring.
Consideration should also be given to letter drops to the nearest residents and adverts in local shop windows, hotels or community and civic buildings. Where possible, social media of the developer or agent should be considered as a means of advertising the event. This is not essential for all PAN events but is good practice and may be requested for larger scale developments within our PAN response. It is also recommended that active local groups are identified and invited as this can be a broader method of informing the public of the event. We may request additional consultations as appropriate.
Advertisement notice requirements
The advertisement notice for each event must contain:
- A description of, and the location of, the proposed development.
- Details as to where further information may be obtained concerning the proposed development (including online).
- The date and place of the public event.
- A statement explaining how, and by when, persons wishing to make comments to the prospective applicant relating to the proposal may do so.
- A statement that comments made to the prospective applicant are not representations to us as the planning authority and if the prospective applicant submits an application there will be an opportunity to make representations on that application.
In addition, the advertisement should:
- Be suitably worded advert advising the public and stakeholders of the proposed event, the location of information, how to engage, and time limits.
- Give a minimum of seven days notice of the consultation events
- Have additional telephone access opportunities for questions and answers, particularly with those who do not have internet access in mind and cannot attend the public events. Any such contact numbers and timing should be indicated in the newspaper notice and other awareness-raising measures. Calls should ideally be free but not more than local rate calls.
- Should include information for those not wishing to participate at the public meetings, applicants are required to make information available to the public, which can be online, and enable the submission of comments. The advert should set out the opportunities for the public to submit comments to you, and the timescales for doing so (at least 21 days from the placing of the newspaper advert in the case of one-way exchanges (information online and the ability to just submit comments) and at least seven days in the case of two-way engagement).
Additional consultation suggestions
The following suggestions are ways in which prospective applicants could build on this minimum, depending on resources and capabilities of the parties involved:
- Have an online video presentation or hosted slideshow to help explain the proposals and support basic online content
- Provide FAQs and answers in addition to any individual responses
- Where these parties are able and willing to assist in raising awareness of the consultation, send links to the online material to planning authorities and community councils and other community groups.
If 18 months pass after the last PAN event has been undertaken and no application has been submitted, then a further PAN event should be held prior to submission of the application.
While we have an expectation that developers will carry out public consultation through the PAN process to a level greater than the minimum standard, it is recognised that this is not always viable or appropriate depending on the development.
If the recommendations set out above cannot be met, then this will not necessarily make any PAN process unacceptable. Justification will be required within any PAC report as to why the recommendations were not followed to ensure that the PAN process was acceptable. It is recommended that deviations from the process outlined are discussed and agreed with us at an early stage should specific circumstances prevent the requirements being met.
The useful links below may help identify the relevant community council and ward members: