Click to listen

Planning documents

will be unavailable until Monday 18 December due to essential maintenance

Public Performance Reports

Planning and Building Standards

The Council Plan Connect, outlines our objectives for 2012-17.  Connect ambitions and objectives should not be seen in isolation, they interact with each other and as we achieve success in one, we move closer to success in others.  In delivering our vision to ‘improve the quality of life of everyone in South Lanarkshire’ our ambitions show how our work links with our partners including our Community Planning Partners. 

Each year we produce an Annual Performance Report which details how we have performed in achieving our Connect objectives. To complement the Annual Performance Report we have created a suite of individual Public Performance Reports.  This report outlines the performance in relation to our planning and building standards services and how this links to the outcomes of our ambition to ‘Make communities safer and stronger'.

Planning and Building Standards

The future development of the South Lanarkshire area is a key responsibility for the council.  We ensure that development takes place in the right place, at the appropriate time, in a sustainable way and in the best interest of the public.  Planning and Building Standards achieves this by preparing and monitoring development plans, considering planning applications and enforcing planning legislation.  The health, safety and welfare of people in and around these new or existing developments is also vital and this is secured through the assessment of building warrants and certificates of completion in relation to the construction and demolition of buildings.

Supply of available land for housing – number of years Target 5 years

What this means This indicator shows the years’ supply of land available for new housing across South Lanarkshire.
Why this matters One of the main responsibilities of the Planning service is to ensure that there is enough housing land available to deliver development within South Lanarkshire.  Supply of land for housing should be maintained, with at least five years’ effective land being available at all times – this is our target. 
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 Are we improving?
SLC 8.2 years 6.2 years 6.7 years Yes
Scotland N/A N/A  N/A
How we have performed in improving this public service There was an increase in the supply of land for housing in 2015-16 compared with the previous year, with the number of years’ supply 34% above the target.  This means that the Planning service is continuing to satisfy its obligation to ensure a sufficient supply of land is available for housing.  

 

Number of housing units approved No target set

What this means This indicator identifies how many actual housing units have been granted planning permission across South Lanarkshire.
Why this matters The development of housing is a key part of the economy and can be used as an indicator of an area’s prosperity and attractiveness.  Providing new housing of the right type at the right place can encourage people to locate or stay in the area.  This indicator shows how the Planning service is continuing to play its part in ensuring a sufficient supply of suitable housing is available in appropriate locations.  
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2013-14 2014-15  2015-16 Are we improving?
SLC

374

3,638

 1,176

Yes
Scotland N/A N/A N/A
How we have performed in improving this public service In 2015-16, there was a decrease in the number of housing approvals compared to the previous year.  However, 2014-15 had been an exceptional year, with greater economic confidence leading to planning permission being sought and granted for a substantial number of housing units - these units are now in the process of being constructed.  In general, the number of housing units which were approved in 2015-16 still remains significantly higher than the figures over the previous few years. 

 

Supply of available land for employment – in hectares No target set

What this means This indicator identifies how much land is available for employment development.  This is land that meets business requirements, can be serviced or serviceable within five years, be accessible for walking, cycling and public transport, and has a secure planning status.
Why this matters An adequate supply of available land for employment encourages the development of business in South Lanarkshire, which in turn supports sustainable economic growth and regeneration.
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 Are we improving?
SLC

136 hectares

 123 hectares

116 hectares

 Yes
Scotland  N/A  N/A  N/A
How we have performed in improving this public service

The requirement for this measure is not necessarily to increase the supply of available land for employment, but to ensure that a sufficient quantity is available.  There has been a slight decrease in the marketable employment land supply.  This is because land has been successfully taken up for employment purposes, including sites for business, industrial, and storage and distribution uses (mainly in Larkhall).  Supply has also partly reduced due to sites being reallocated for other uses (mainly East Kilbride). 

 

Take up of employment land – in hectares  – No target set

What this means This indicator identifies how much employment land has been actively developed in any one year.
Why this matters Take up of employment land shows that the council is attracting inward investment to appropriate sites identified in the council’s Local Development Plan.
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 Are we improving?
SLC

6.56 hectares

1.83 hectares

 3.26 hectares

Yes
Scotland N/A N/A N/A
How we have performed in improving this public service Overall, take up of employment land in 2015-16 increased compared to the previous year.  The 3.26 hectares of land actively developed in 2015-16 included a site for a warehouse extension in Larkhall and the further development for whisky bonded warehouses at a site in East Kilbride.

 

Planning applications approved as a percentage of total number of planning applications received – No target set

What this means This indicator sets out the rate of approval for planning applications as a percentage of total applications received.
Why this matters A high planning application approval rate indicates that planning officers are communicating well with planning applicants before an application is submitted, and throughout the processing stage in order to see applications through to their successful approval.  
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 Are we improving?
SLC 97.1% 97.1% 98.3%    Yes
Scotland 94.1% 93.9% 93.8%
How we have performed in improving this public service

In 2015-16, 98.3% of planning applications were successfully approved, which is better than in the previous two years, and well above the Scottish average of 93.8%. 

Planning applications - decision making timescales

Under the relevant legislation, planning applications are categorised as (1) major developments; and (2) local developments.  These different categories allow us to consider developments in a way best suited to their size and complexity.  In 2015-16, we processed 1,381 planning applications for local developments and 22 planning applications for major developments. 

Local developments are further categorised into ‘householder developments’ which include alterations by a householder to their house or garden, and ‘local developments' which are 'non householder’ and which are smaller scale developments like applications relating to shops, offices and the changes of use of land or property. 

Major developments – average number of weeks to decision – No target set

What this means This indicator sets out the average time taken by the Planning service to process planning applications for major developments.
Why this matters This indicator measures the efficiency of the council’s planning application process.  The Planning service has a statutory four month period in which to deal with a planning application for a major or national development.  However, the complexities of these types of planning applications can mean that this timescale is not met.
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 Are we improving?
SLC 62.4 weeks 75.9 weeks 45.4 weeks Yes
Scotland 53.8 weeks 46.4 weeks 36.8 weeks
How we have performed in improving this public service In 2015-16, compared to the Scottish average, the council took longer to make a decision on major planning applications.  However compared to the previous year, the council’s performance improved.  This resulted from a review of the planning application process carried out in 2015 which improved the efficiency of the planning application process. 

 

Local developments (householder) – average number of weeks to decision –  No target set

What this means This indicator sets out the average time taken by the Planning service to process the planning applications for householder developments.
Why this matters This indicator measures the efficiency of the council’s planning application process.  The Planning service has a statutory two month period in which to deal with a local planning application.
  Comparator 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 Are we improving?
Our performance and how we compare SLC 8.0 weeks 7.3 weeks 7.7 weeks No
Scotland 7.7 weeks 7.5 weeks 7.5 weeks
How we have performed in improving this public service There was an increase in the average decision-making time for planning applications for householder developments, from 7.3 weeks in 2014-15 to 7.7 weeks in 2015-16.  This figure, however, includes three longstanding applications from 2008 and 2009 which were decided in 2015-16.  If these three applications were not included, the figure for all remaining applications would have fallen significantly to 6.2 weeks.

 

Local developments (non-householder) – average number of weeks to decision – No target set 

What this means This indicator sets out the average time taken by the Planning service to process the planning applications for local developments (non-householder).
Why this matters This indicator measures the efficiency of the council’s planning application process.  The Planning service has a statutory two month period in which to deal with a local planning application.
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 Are we improving?
SLC 18.6 weeks 14.9 weeks 16.3 weeks No
Scotland 14.3 weeks  12.9 weeks 12.3 weeks
How we have performed in improving this public service

Whilst there has been an increase in the local (non-householder) figure from 14.9 weeks in 2014-15 to 16.3 weeks in 2015-16, the percentage of applications determined within two months by the Planning service actually rose from 52.8% to 53.9%.  The increase in average processing times for this indicator in 2015-16 is largely attributable to the focus which has been put on determining outstanding, long-running applications – in particular, a number of wind turbine applications from 2013-14, along with some other outstanding applications from pre-2009.  The Planning service made significant progress in clearing these cases in 2015-16 (reducing the overall number of long running outstanding cases by 50%). This should have a positive impact on the 2016-17 processing times.

Enforcement action

Number of breaches of planning legislation identified/resolved – No target set

What this means The Planning service monitors the number of breaches of planning legislation reported and the number of these cases that are resolved.  Where a breach of planning legislation is identified, the Planning service will attempt to respond to this without having to take formal action - either by having the owner agree to ‘undo’ the work or by asking them to submit a retrospective application for works which can be approved. 
Why this matters The activity outlined below shows that the Planning service is using its enforcement powers to make sure that everyone stays within planning law and the conditions of their planning permission. 
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16  
SLC

256 identified

233 resolved

256 identified

186 resolved

207 identified

97 resolved

 No
Scotland     N/A     N/A    N/A
How we have performed in improving this public service In 2015-16, 207 breaches of planning legislation were identified and 97 cases were resolved by the Planning service.  The proportion of resolved cases is lower than in the previous year and the service continues to work through these outstanding cases until resolution.

Building warrants - response times

Percentage of the requests for building warrants responded to within 15 days, medium risk - Target 80%  

What this means

A building warrant is a legal procedure that must be followed. This is to make sure that any proposed building work meets current building regulations.  The following results show the percentage of applications assessed for compliance with building warrant regulation requirements within the 15 day target.

Why this matters When our Building Standards service grants permission for work to be done, it issues a building warrant. This indicator shows how efficiently the Building Standards service administers the building warrant process, with the service aiming to reduce the average time it takes for customers to obtain a building warrant.
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 Are we improving?
SLC 98.0% 97.0% 98.0% Yes
Scotland N/A N/A  N/A
How we have performed in improving this public service In 2015-16, we responded to 98% of requests for building warrants within 15 days.  This is better than our performance in the previous year and is far in excess of our annual target of 80%.  Overall performance remains high for this indicator.

Certificate completions - response times

Percentage of requests for completion certificates responded to within three working days -  Target 95%

What this means

The certificate of completion states that the applicant has carried out work in accordance with the building warrant and approved plans.  The following indicator shows the percentage of completion certificate submissions which the Building Standards service responded to within three working days. 

Why this matters This indicator shows how efficiently our Building Standards service administers the completion certificate process which includes inspection of work and acceptance of completion certificates.
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 Are we improving?
SLC 98.0% 91.0% 92.0% Yes
Scotland N/A N/A N/A
How we have performed in improving this public service In 2015-16, we responded to 92% of requests for completion certificates within three working days.  This is a slight increase on the previous year’s performance, but is still slightly below our annual target of 95%. 

Customer satisfaction

Percentage of residents satisfied with the processing of planning applications and building warrants (council Household Satisfaction Survey) – No target set

What this means As part of the council’s routine Household Satisfaction Survey, South Lanarkshire residents are asked their opinion on how satisfied they are with the way the council processes planning applications and building warrants. 
Why this matters As well as measuring the time taken to process requests for building warrants and completion certificates, it is also important to know how satisfied people are with the service.
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2010  2014  Are we improving?
SLC 66.5% 78.0%   Yes
Scotland N/A N/A
How we have performed in improving this public service The satisfaction rate improved substantially between 2010 and 2014, and in 2014 was moderately high. 

 

Percentage satisfaction with the Planning Service -  Target 73%

What this means

Aside from the council Household Satisfaction Survey, the Planning Service undertakes its own customer satisfaction survey throughout the year.  This questionnaire is issued to planning applicants and agents appointed by planning applicants (including consultants and architectural firms).

Why this matters As well as measuring the efficiency of the planning application process, it is also important to know how satisfied people are with the quality of the Planning service.
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 Are we improving?
SLC 97.0% 100.0% 93.0% No
Scotland N/A  N/A N/A
How we have performed in improving this public service In 2015-16, 93% of applicants and agents rated the overall quality of the service as either good or excellent.

 

Percentage satisfaction with the Buildings Standards service -  Target 87%

What this means Similar to the above, the Building Standards service also undertakes its own customer satisfaction survey throughout the year.  This questionnaire is issued to building warrant applicants and the agents appointed by these applicants (including consultants and architectural firms).
Why this matters As with the above indicator, this indicator is a measure of the quality of our Building Standards service.
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 Are we improving?
SLC 97.0% 95.0% 85.0% No
Scotland N/A N/A N/A
How we have performed in improving this public service In 2015-16, 85% of agents rated the overall quality of the service as either good or excellent.  This is lower than the previous two years and is just below the service’s own target.

Consultation

In addition to the above surveys, South Lanarkshire Council’s (SLC) Building Standards was also subject to a national customer satisfaction survey during 2015-16 commissioned by the Scottish Government.  SLC scored a satisfaction level of 8.6 out of 10, against a national average of 7.1.

Building Standards also held an agents forum in August 2016 to introduce customers to the new national portal for submission of online planning applications. The initial response resulted in a third of applications being received electronically, and this figure is continuing to increase. 

An exercise was undertaken by the Planning service to explore the experience and reaction of customers involved in the Local Development Plan (LDP) process.  A customer survey was issued seeking the views of those who took part in the plan’s consultation process.  The survey responses showed that customers found the staff involved in preparing the LDP to be knowledgeable, easily contacted and helpful.  However, the survey also indicated that customers found the functioning of the on-line submission and consultation process to be difficult, and that the format and presentation of the documents at the consultation stage was not always clear.  The way in which the consultation system functions will therefore be simplified and the style and format of LDP documents changed to make them more engaging for readers.  

Areas for improvement and action

We will take forward the following key areas for improvement:

  • being conscious of the need to continually improve the timescales for decisions on applications, the Service will continue to critically assess and review their processes and procedures in order to ensure they are fit for purpose

Further information

South Lanarkshire Council Local Development Plan

The South Lanarkshire Local Development Plan (SLLDP) contains the planning policies which provide the basis for assessing and determining planning applications, and ensures that the amount of land needed to deliver development within South Lanarkshire is identified.  The Plan, which was formally adopted by the council on 29 June 2015, covers the period 2015-2020, and was prepared following extensive public engagement.  Between May and June 2013, 553 comments from householders, developers and other organisations were received and considered as part of the development of the Plan. 

To see a list of our development priorities within each location, turn to page 49 of the SLLDP.

Planning Performance Framework

The service also prepares an annual service improvement plan - Planning Performance Framework which is submitted to the Scottish Government. This details how our Planning service is performing, including:
• speed of decision-making
• certainty of timescales, process and advice
• delivery of good quality development
• project management
• clear communications and open engagement
The framework measures the quality of our Planning service and is used to identify and encourage ongoing improvements.

Planning Performance Statistics

In addition to the above, a range of other performance results in respect of planning applications are reported to the Scottish Government on a quarterly basis by our Planning service.  This comprehensive suite of Planning Authority Performance Statistics can be viewed on the Scottish Government website. 

Resource Plans are prepared each year by all council Resources to outline the key developments they intend to take forward in the year.  Performance and actions relating to planning and building standards can be found in the Community and Enterprise Resource Plan

Twice a year, performance reports are presented to council committees on progress against the Resource Plans. In addition, reports detailing progress against the Council Plan Connect objectives are prepared – see Quarter 2 and Quarter 4 performance reports.

More information on Council objectives can be found in the Council Plan Connect and also the Annual Performance Report.

The information contained within this report reflects the position based on the data available at the time of publication (March 2017).