Local Development Plans

This page gives an update on the production of new-style Local Development Plans and our work to ensure that local people can be involved in the process. Find out on how to get involved in your LDP below.

What is a Local Development Plan?

A Local Development Plan (LDP) shows how local places will change into the future, including where development should and should not happen. They are prepared by the Planning Authority (usually a local Council).

Planning authorities must take into account the National Planning Framework and any registered local place plans for the area. Local Place Plans are a non-statutory plan which can be produced by local communities giving their views on how they would like to see their area develop in the future.

Local Development Plans become part of the statutory development plan, along with the National Planning Framework.

We believe that communities should be at the centre of Local Development Plans and the process should be made simple and straightforward for them to engage with, and that communities should be engaged proactively by the planning authorities.

How to have a say in the future of your area

Whether you would like more green spaces, cycling infrastructure, social housing, or public transport, getting it into your Local Development Plan (LDP) could be the best way to make it a reality. But what is a local development plan and how can you get involved?

Read our blog here

Planning in Scotland

Purpose of Planning

The Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 states that the purpose of planning is “to manage the development and use of land in the long term public interest”. Anything which contributes to sustainable development or achieves Scotland’s national outcomes is considered to be in the long term public interest.

Our Advice Note on planning gives a broad overview of all aspects of the planning system in Scotland. 

Please note a previous version of this Advice Note is also available. This was published before recent changes to the planning system

  • Text of the first page of the advice note.

    APRS Advice Note: The Scottish Planning System

    Planning affects everyone, and everyone has a right to have their say about matters that affect their lives.  Planning is about making hard choices, balancing the need for appropriate development with the desire to protect both the landscapes that we cherish and the environmental quality that is vital for life and wellbeing.  Knowing about the planning system can help us all to make informed choices about the future of rural Scotland.

National Planning Framework

The National Planning Framework (NPF) is the long-term strategic spatial plan for Scotland. It sets out the main developments which the Scottish Government (SG) wants to see, and where they should take place across Scotland. The current NPF4, adopted in February 2023, can be read here. More information about the changes associated with NPF4 are on the Transforming Planning website

National Planning Policy

NPF4 includes new National Planning Policy (replacing the previous Scottish Planning Policy -SPP- dating from 2014). It sets out the Scottish Government’s top-level national planning policies indicating which types of development and use of land should and should not be permitted. The National Planning Policy is contained in Part 2 of NPF4.

Development Plans

Development Plans in Scotland, since NPF4, are made up of the Local Development Plan (LDP) for that area and NPF4. Local Development Plans produced by local planning authorities – the Councils or National Park Authorities. This means that planning applications should be assessed against the policies and strategy set out in both these documents.

The Scottish Government has issued guidance on how Local development plans should be implemented so that they deliver the new-style place-based, people-centred and delivery-focussed plans. It brings together requirements from the Act and Regulations and advice in relation to National Planning Framework 4.

Regional Spatial Strategies

Prior to the introduction of NPF4, four areas of Scotland – the regions around the four main cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee – were covered by Strategic Development Plans (SDPs). Now that NPF4 is in place SDPs are no longer in force. All areas of Scotland are to be covered by Regional Spatial Strategies (RSS) which groups of planning authorities can produce jointly if they wish. In 2023 indicative RSS have been produced but not yet consulted on. New LDPs must have regard to relevant RSS but the RSS are not part of the Development Plan.

Timelines for LDPs

This document gives a summary about what we know about the timeline for each local authority’s development plan.


News on How to get Involved

Select your local council for more information on how to input to your Local Development Plan. We also have a working document on LDPs by greenbelt.

Cairngorms National Park

Caringorms National Park will adopt their new Local Development Plan in 2027. They are currently gathering evidence and carrying out stakeholder engagement, more information on which can be accessed below. Local Place Plans, which will inform the Local Development Plan, can also be submitted by community groups until May 2024.

North Ayrshire

North Ayrshire’s new Local Development Plan will be adopted in 2026, and are in the early engagement stage of its preparation. You can take part in several engagement surveys and sign up for updates through the council’s LDP3 engagement hub. Local Place Plans can also be submitted by community groups until June 2024, which will then inform the area’s Local Development Plan.

Highland Council

Highland Council are planning on adopting their new Local Development Plan in 2027. Early engagement consultations will be on the Council’s consultation page. A formal invitation for community groups to submit Local Place Plans was also issued in June 2023, and plans must be submitted by 28th June 2024 to be inform the Local Development Plan.


Aberdeenshire Council are planning on adopting their new Local Development Plan in 2027, and have launched an engagement hub with early surveys and information. Local community groups can also submit Local Place Plans to inform the Local Development plan until late 2024.


You can sign up for updates on Fife’s Local Development Plan through the link below.

Community groups can also contribute Local Place Plans which will inform the Local Development Plan. The deadline for submissions is January 2024.

East Lothian

East Lothian Council are currently running a public engagement exercise for the development of their evidence report, which will now runs until the 13th of October 2023 after being extended from 17th September 2023. This aims to gather your views on issues and priorities for the area.

Community groups can also submit Local Place Plans to inform the Local Development Plan. These should be submitted by Spring 2024.


Midlothian Council have launched a Citizen Space page, which has information on ongoing activities for early engagement in Local Development Plan preparation. They will also shortly be issuing invitations to community groups to submit a Local Place Plan, which will then inform the Local Development Plan, more information on which can be found below.


Renfrewshire Council launched an online survey to help understand potential issues in the area and develop a spatial strategy which addresses the issues that are important to the local community, which closed on August 8th and is currently being reviewed. Further engagement opportunities will be on the page below. For community groups who wish to produce a local place plan, information and an expression of interest form can be found on the button below.


The initial phase of establishing the new LDP concluded after Council’s June meeting, with the endorsement of the Development Plan Scheme and Participation Statement.

Perth and Kinross

Perth and Kinross Council are holding The Big Place Conversation which will form part of the evidence base of the next Local Development Plan and future council and community initiatives. We are talking about housing needs, public transport, walking and wheeling, greenspaces and access to nature, and what shops, facilities and places to work are like in your area.

To get involved, find out more information here  The Big Place Conversation – Perth & Kinross Council (pkc.gov.uk) 

West Lothian

West Lothian Council have launched this page for information and opportunities for public engagement. There are currently several open surveys, specifically aimed at engaging children and young people, adults, disabled persons, and businesses and organisations. They are also running a series of ‘drop-in’ events in ten towns during October. More information on this can be found through the button below. Community groups can also submit Local Place Plans until March 2024.


Falkirk Council have issued an invitation for community groups to submit Local Place Plans, as well as assistance in doing so. The deadline for community groups to submit a Local Place Plan for their area is April 2025.


Glasgow City Council will soon begin to work on their next City Development Plan. You can be added to their consultation database through the form below to be alerted to engagement opportunities. Community groups considering preparing a local place plan can also fill out a pre-enquiry form through the link below.

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