The Development Plan

Currently, the development plan comprises not one but two documents; the Strategic Development Plan (SDP) and the Local Development Plan (LDP 1). The development plan sets out agreed planning policies for the administrative area of West Lothian and is the background against which planning decisions are made by the council. Before making a planning application (or commenting on a proposal) you are encouraged to consult the development plan and identify which policies and proposals may be relevant. In order to ensure that planning decisions are rational and consistent, they must be considered against the development plan adopted by the council, after public consultation and having proper regard for other relevant and material considerations.

What makes up the development plan?

The development plan sets out how places should change and what they could be like in the future and is a land use based plan. The development plan has implications for the way we live our lives.

It says what type of development should take place where, and which areas should not be developed. It sets out the best locations for new homes and businesses and protects places of value to people or wildlife.

The plan also helps development to take place quickly by describing how any new or improved facilities, such as roads, schools and parks, will be provided.

The Development Plan for West Lothian consists of two tiers:

(1) The Strategic Development Plan (SDP) for Edinburgh and South East Scotland

This was collectively prepared by the local authorities that make up the Strategic Development Planning Authority for Edinburgh and South East Scotland (SESplan) and was approved with modifications by Scottish Ministers on 27 June 2013. The Strategic Development Plan for Edinburgh and South East Scotland can be viewed by clicking on this link.

(2) The West Lothian Local Development Plan (LDP 1) 

The Plan was adopted on 4 September 2018. A suite of both statutory and non-statutory Planning Guidance has also been prepared to expand on and support policies set out in LDP 1.

How do the plans fit together?

The Strategic Development Plan (SDP) covers a wide range of issues such as housing, transport, employment, shopping, recreation, renewable energy, minerals and waste, conserving and protecting wildlife and the countryside. The plan takes a long-term view of development, considering how much development is needed and broadly where it should go.

The SDP provides:

  • The Strategic land-use framework at the city regional level
  • A policy context for the West Lothian Local Development Plan
  • A framework for investment (both public and private)
  • The basis for decision-making
  • Complete and consistent consideration of the environment
  • A twenty year time span, reviewed after the first five years
  • Policies and proposals approved by the Scottish Ministers

The Local Development Plan (LDP 1) is the land use planning document for West Lothian providing the spatial strategy for future development over a ten-year period from 2014. It also provides a longer term framework for development beyond 2024 and reflects the spatial strategy set out in the Strategic Development Plan (SDP) for Edinburgh and South East Scotland.

LDP 1 identifies which land has been allocated to meet West Lothian's development needs and where new development should and should not happen. It sets out contains detailed policies and proposals covering the principal land use issues in West Lothian, and provides the context within which decisions on planning applications will be made.

Local Development Plans were originally intended to be reviewed and replaced at five yearly intervals but recent changes to the development planning system introduced by the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 will see this period increase to a ten-year cycle.

What other policies, information or studies are available to support the development plan?

There are a number of documents and studies which support the delivery of the development plan:

  • Statutory and non-statutory planning guidance which address a number of subject matters to help support an up-to-date and consistent application of development plan policies (including developer contribution policies); and
  • Background information and studies; these include the annual Housing Land Audit (HLA), the West Lothian Retail Capacity Study and the West Lothian Local Landscape Designation Review amongst others.


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