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Permitted development rights ('PDR') allow for certain forms of development to take place without the need to apply for planning permission. Planning permission is automatically granted through national legislation.

The Scottish Government carried out a review of PDR as part of its wider planning reform programme in the summer of 2022. Following this, the Government made some changes to the GPDO ("General Permitted Development Order") in Scotland. These changes were made in February 2023 under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development and Use Classes) (Scotland) Miscellaneous Amendment Order 2023, referred to as the Order, and have now come into force on 31 March 2023.

In summary, the Order introduces a new PDR (and amendments to the Use Classes Order) that the Scottish Government believe will provide greater flexibility to change the use of certain buildings, including placing furniture outside specified premises.

These changes will create a new use class in Scotland, known as Class 1A which replaces Class 1 and Class 2. Class 1A brings together those uses previously falling within use classes 1 and 2 of the Use Classes Order into a single class. The effect of doing so is that changes of use that would previously have involved a change between these use classes no longer constitute development for planning purposes.

In addition to this, a new PDR has been introduced into the GPDO. This new PDR provides for a change of use of a building (or part of a building) to use class 3 (food and drink) from a use within class 1A (shops and financial, professional and other services). It also provides PDR for betting shops, payday loan shops and hot food takeaways to change to use class 3. However, there are exceptions when this PDR does not apply. For example, they would not apply if the building is located within 1m of a residential dwelling or if any part of a dwelling is located directly above the building. 

As well as this, a new PDR provides for the placement of furniture on a public road (including the pavement) adjacent to class 3 (food and drink) premises, pubs and bars. Again, there are clear definitions of what is considered furniture, and we would be more than happy to provide further advice on this.

These changes are generally welcomed as they will bring an element of flexibility to owners and occupiers, which in turn will support the vitality and vibrancy of Scotland's town centres.

Get in touch for more information. 


housing, planning, retail & leisure, scotland, town centre, insight