Launch Recite Me assistive technology myaccountMyAccount login image

Our online rent services (myaccount)

will be unavailable from Friday 2 February until Friday 23 February for essential maintenance

Public performance reports

Planning and building standards

The Council Plan Connect, outlines our objectives for 2022-27. Connect Outcomes 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 lives and prospects of everyone in South Lanarkshire’ our priorities show how our work links with our partners including our Community Planning Partners. 

For daily updates, stories and what’s going on in your area, visit our information and news website South Lanarkshire View.

Each year we produce Annual Performance Spotlights which summarise how we have performed in achieving our Connect Outcomes. To complement these, we have created a suite of individual Public Performance Reports which focus on key areas of council business. This report outlines performance in relation to our planning and building standards services and how these link with the priorities and outcomes in Connect.

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 and dealing with dangerous structures.

Supply of available land for housing  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 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 Are we improving?
SLC 6.9 years 6.7 years 7.2 years Yes
Scotland N/A  N/A N/A
How we have performed in improving this public service

The annual housing land analysis for 2021-22 shows that the housing land supply has increased compared to the previous year. This reflects a downturn in activity by housebuilders and a subsequent reduction in the number of completions due to economic circumstances and sites becoming effective.

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. 
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2019-20  2020-21 2021-22 Are we improving?
SLC 1,332

 1,232

1,146 No
Scotland N/A N/A N/A
How we have performed in improving this public service The number of houses approved in 2021-22 was again slightly lower than the previous year. Nevertheless, the housing land supply is higher than previous years and the Community Growth Areas throughout South Lanarkshire continue to be developed at a steady rate of output which shows the attractiveness of the area as a place to live. 

Planning applications approved as a percentage of total number of planning applications received – 95%

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 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 Are we improving?
SLC 97.5% 97.8% 98.8% Yes
Scotland 94.2% 94.5% 94.3%
How we have performed in improving this public service

The proportion of planning applications approved increased again this year. This figure remains above the annual target, is higher than the Scottish average and demonstrates the commitment of the Planning Service to seek a positive outcome for applicants and ensure high quality outcomes for the council area.

Major developments – average number of weeks to decision – Target 50 weeks

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 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 Are we improving?
SLC 38.3 weeks 77.4 weeks 66.3 weeks Yes
Scotland 33.5 weeks 41.3 weeks 44.6 weeks
How we have performed in improving this public service The average time to determine major applications fell in 2021-22, however it is still longer the target figure. There were a number of vacancies at senior planning officer level and associated recruitment challenges which impacted the figure. 

Local developments (householder) – average number of weeks to decision – Target 7 weeks

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 2019-20 2020-21 2020-21 Are we improving?
Our performance and how we compare SLC 8.3 weeks 9.1 weeks 13.1 weeks No
Scotland 7.3 weeks 8.1 weeks 8.7 weeks
How we have performed in improving this public service The time taken to process householder applications increased in 2021-22. There was a significant increase in the number of householder applications received which together with staffing issues resulted in the time taken to decide householder applications increasing. However, the number of householder determinations increased from 781 in 2020-21 to 975 in 2021-22 (a 24.5% increase) and accounts for 58.7% of all decisions. 

Local developments (non-householder) – average number of weeks to decision – Target 11 weeks 

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 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 Are we improving?
SLC 20.0 weeks 18.8 weeks 23.2 weeks No
Scotland 10.9 weeks 12.4 weeks 10.8 weeks
How we have performed in improving this public service

The average timescale for determining local (non-householder) applications in 2021-22 was higher than the previous year. Resourcing issues and difficulties in recruiting was a major factor for this outcome. 

Business and industry – average number of weeks to decision – Target 11 weeks 

What this means This indicator sets out the average time taken by the Planning service to process the planning applications for business and industry developments.
Why this matters An efficient and well-functioning planning service plays an important role in facilitating sustainable economic growth and delivering high quality development in the right places. 
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 Are we improving?
SLC 18.34 weeks 16.75 weeks 20.6 weeks No
Scotland 10.5 weeks 11.08 weeks 10.32 weeks
How we have performed in improving this public service

The average time for processing business/industrial planning applications in South Lanarkshire increased in 2021-22, and the figure is higher than the Scottish Average. 

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 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 Are we improving?
SLC

202 identified

124 resolved

320 identified

179 resolved

397 identified

201 resolved

No
Scotland N/A N/A N/A
How we have performed in improving this public service The number of complaints received in 2021-22 was an increase of 24% on the figure for 2020-21, which, in itself, was a 58.4% increase on the previous year. This meant the number of cases doubled in 2 years at a time when the small enforcement team was never fully staffed. The majority of new cases have involved householder development (reflecting homeowners extending or improving their property during the pandemic) and the start-up of new businesses/diversification of existing business as the economy started to open up again. The number of cases resolved has improved, however, it has not kept pace with the amount of enquiries received.

Percentage of Building Warrant applications receiving initial assessment within 20 working days -Target 95%

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 20 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 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 Are we improving?
SLC 89% 95% 80% No
Scotland N/A  N/A N/A
How we have performed in improving this public service Performance in 2021-22 was below the national target. This was due to the volume of work received by the service and resources available to meet the demand. Additional posts, including surveyors and a modern apprentice, were created during the year to address the downturn in performance. 

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 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 Are we improving?
SLC 62% 77% 45% No
Scotland N/A N/A N/A
How we have performed in improving this public service Performance in 2021-22 was below the national target. This was due to the re-prioritisation of work due to availability of resources. It is intended to create additional inspector posts which will help address the performance levels.

The Planning Performance Framework and Annual Verification Report helps identify a range of service improvements. For 2021-22 this includes:

  • Local Forum: It is intended to re-introduce a Local Forum with agents and other key stakeholders and this will be attended by both Planning and Building Standards officers. This year the forum will be used to seek views on how developers can contribute to the Council’s climate change and sustainability agenda, while also seeking feedback on how we can improve service delivery. 
  • Customer Service Excellence: The service has held a Customer Service Excellence award for 8 years and the overall outcome has improved year on year. The process provides an opportunity to rigorously review and update existing procedures and identify ways to improve the customer journey.
  • Service review: Carry out a review of existing procedures for assessing planning applications in order to identify ways in which the process can be streamlined. This will include consideration of benchmarking with other authorities. Staff resources to be kept under review with opportunities to add to the establishment, including the employment of additional graduate posts within the Planning Service to be explored.
  • Consultation, Communication and Engagement Strategy: This was finalised and submitted to Committee for approval in June 2021. The Strategy sets out how we will effectively consult, communicate and engage with customers, staff and colleagues. In 2021-22, the service will review and update local surveys and other forms of customer engagement carried out to measure customer satisfaction with both the Planning and Building Standards service and prepare an action plan to address procedural and performance issues raised. 
  • Digital transformation: Continue to review and develop essential IT systems, including consideration of mobile working solutions. Consider amendments to processes and new software/hardware to address legislative change and the implementation of the Scottish Government’s digital transformation programme. 

Outcomes within the Building Standards Annual Verification report for 2021-22 include: 

  • Provide an effective and efficient Planning and Building Standards service.
  • Work with internal and external partners to adopt the Scottish Government’s Workforce Strategy for the Building Standards Verification Service.

South Lanarkshire Council Local Development Plan

The existing South Lanarkshire Local Development Plan 2 (SLLDP2) was adopted by the council on 9 April 2021 and contains the planning policies which provide the basis for assessing and determining planning applications, and ensuring that the amount of land needed to deliver housing and employment within South Lanarkshire is identified. The plan also includes detailed policies on helping tackle climate change, protect and enhance the natural and built environment, assess applications for renewable energy and waste, and support town centres. 

Several Supporting Planning Guidance documents were produced during the year including Developer Contributions, Electric Vehicle Charge Points and Development at a Dwellinghouse.

Planning Performance Framework

The service also prepares an annual service improvement plan, 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. Feedback from the Scottish Government on the Council’s Planning Performance Framework 2021-22 has been provided and highlights that our Planning service is performing well for 11 of the 13 indicators against which the service is measured, with two areas (both related to decision making timescales) requiring substantial improvement. This is the same outcome as for 2020-21.

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 and 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 economic development and regeneration 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 Outcomes are prepared. See Quarter 2 and Quarter 4 performance reports for further information.

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

Local Government Benchmarking Framework (LGBF) allows councils to work together, to use performance information in a way which will help understand variations, share knowledge, expertise and good practice, with a view to making improvements. For more information and links relating to this framework go to the 'Benchmarking' paragraph on the Improvement and how we compare page on our website.

The information contained within this report reflects the position based on the data available at the time of publication (February 2023).