Dec 162011

Certificate Of Intention Not To List (COINTL)

A COINTL is a legal guarantee that a building or buildings will not be statutorily listed as being of special architectural or historic interest during the five years from the date on which the certificate is signed. Certificates are a useful tool when development is intended on a site. The COINTL has been introduced to enable owners and developers to engage early with Historic Scotland and to provide them with certainty on whether the building or site is of special interest.

COINTLs are being introduced on 1 December 2011 as part of the Historic Environment (Amendment) (Scotland) Act 2011.


COINTLs and the Listing Process

The process for a COINTL is the same as any listing assessment and buildings are assessed by applying the listing criteria as defined in the Scottish Historic Environment Policy (SHEP). Historic Scotland may review a wider area to that proposed for a COINTL in order to have full understanding of the site.

The issue of a certificate also prevents the local planning authority from serving a Building Preservation Notice (BPN) on the property during this period. (A BPN is a form of temporary listing served by the local planning authority). Applying for a certificate does not give any temporary statutory protection to the subject being considered.

Dec 152011



As in most parts of planning law, the answer is not simple.

Section 28 of the Planning Act * defines that planning permission is required if you wish to carry-out any development of land. Section 26 defines the meaning of development, which includes “any material change in the use of any buildings or other land“. So if you want to change the use you make of land or a building, planning permission might be required.

But the Government acknowledged that many changes of use do not have any adverse impact on neighbours, communities or the environment, so the “Use Classes Order “ * groups together various uses into 11 Classes.  The Classes and the uses they contain as shown in the table below.   No planning permission is required if the change you want to make remains within the same class : it is not a “material” change of use. Hence use of this word in Section 26.  But if your new use would result in a change from one class to another, planning permission is usually required.

There is another category of uses, known as “sui generis” uses, which are specifically excluded from all the use classes.  These are un-neighbourly uses which it would unwise to allow to start unregulated. Some of these uses are listed in the Use Classes Order : see list under the table.

It is still not quite as simple as this. The Government then took the view that some material changes of use (i.e. from one class to another) do not have any adverse impact on neighbours, communities or the environment, so a mechanism is used to remove the need for planning permission for these changes.  This is known as “permitted development”.   The General Permitted Development Order* grants planning permission for a list of 72 classes of development which otherwise would require formal planning permission from the planning authority.  Four of these classes relate to changes of use, and are indicated in the third column of the table below.  It should be noted that they only apply in the direction indicated and not in reverse.  Two “sui generis” uses : sale or display of motor vehicles, and hot-food carry-out shops, have permitted development rights to change to uses within the Use Classes Order (see bottom of table).

The Classes in the Use Classes Order, and permitted changes from class to class are shown in the table below.


Use Class Description of uses “Permitted development” changes
Class 1 Shops    Retail sale of goods other than hot food; post office;  travel or ticket agency, sale of cold food   for consumption off the premises, hairdresser, undertaker, the display of   goods for sale, hiring of domestic goods or articles,  laundrette or dry cleaner,  or for the reception of goods to be washed.  All where the sale,display or service is provided principally to visiting members of the public. None
Class 2 Financial professional and other services   Financial professional and other services appropriate to be found in a shopping centre.  These typically   include betting shops, lawyer, accountant, estate agent, health centre, dentist, doctor or vet surgery. (where all are principally used by members of  the public). To Class 1
Class 3 Food and drink   Provided that the food or drink is consumed on the premises. To Classes 1 and 2
Class 4 Business     Offices (other than those described in Class 2), research and development of products and processes, which can be carried out in any residfential area without detriment to amenity. To Class 6 with limit of 235 square metres.
Class 5 General industrial    Carrying out an industrial process, other than one which would fall into Class 4. To class 4, or to Class 6 with limit of 235 square metres.
Class 6 Storage and distribution To Class 4
Class 7 Hotels and hostels   Hotel, boarding house, guest house, hostel with no significant element of care; other than premises licensed for sale of alcohol other than to residents or diners eating on the premises; and other than a Class 9 (houses) use. None
Class 8 Residential institutions  Residential accommodation with care, hospital, nursing home; residential school, college or training centre. None
Class 9 Houses   House (but not a flat) occupied by a single person, people living together as a family, or as a household of not more than 5 people.  Bed and breakfast or guesthouse with bedroom limits. None
Class 10 Non-residential institutions    Creche, day nursery, day centre;  provision of education; display of works of   art (but not sale or hire); museum, public library, public or exhibition   hall; or public worship, religious instruction, or social activities of a religious body. None
Class 11 Assembly and leisure   Cinema, concert hall, bingo hall, casino, dance hall, discotheque,   swimming bath, skating rink, gymnasium, or for indoor and outdoor sport and   recreation not involving motorised vehicles or  firearms. None
Hot food shops (not classified) To Classes 1 or 2
Display or sale of motor vehicles    (not classified) To Class 1 with limit of 235 square metres.


Planning permission is always required for uses not contained in any class (these are known as “sui generis” uses).   The exception is the permitted development changes allowed for hot foot and motor vehicles shown at the bottom of the table.  The Use Classes Order contains a list of specifically excluded classes, which are :  theatres, amusement centres, funfairs, sale or display of motor vehicles, sale of fuel for motor vehicles, taxi / car hire businesses, scrap yards, mineral storage and distribution, public houses, works registrable under the Alkali Act, and hot-food carry-out shops.


* “The Planning Act” is The Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 (as amended)

“The Use Classes Order” is The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) (Scotland) Order 1997

“The General Permitted Development Order” is The Town and Country Planning (General

Permitted Development) (Scotland) Order 1992   (as amended).

Dec 012011

The Scottish Government have harmonised appeal arrangements so that similar procedures introduced in 2008 for planning appeals apply to listed building and conservation area appeals.  These include removal of the right to be heard in inquiries and hearings, reduction in the length of period in which an appeal can be submitted from 6 to 3 months following planning authority decision, and various transitional provisions.

Nov 212011

Jim McKinnon, Scotland’s Chief Planner, has written to Scotland’s planning authorities clarifying  the Scottish Government’s views on the use of conditions or planning obligations to restrict the occupancy of new rural housing.

Occupancy restrictions are typically used in Scotland to limit the occupancy of new houses in the countryside either to people whose main employment is with a farming or other rural business that requires on-site residency, or to people with a local connection. Sometimes new houses are tied to particular land holdings, preventing them being sold separately.  Such restrictions have been applied either through planning conditions or Section 75 planning obligations.

The letter draws attention to the problems such restrictions cause :  people finding it difficult to get a mortgage to buy a house with an occupancy restriction, or selling the house.

These restrictions add complexity (and potentially expense) into the process of gaining consent for a new house.  They can also be intrusive, resource-intensive and difficult to monitor and enforce.

The letter advises that the Scottish Government believes that occupancy restrictions are rarely appropriate and so should generally be avoided.  It goes on to advise that normal planning considerations should be used to evaluate the acceptability of a housing proposal :  for example  its anticipated impact on road safety, landscape quality or natural heritage, and in some circumstances it may be appropriate for applicants to be asked to make a land management or other business case.

Where sites are considered unsuitable for new housing, more acceptable locations will often exist elsewhere on the same landholding or nearby, and planning authorities can assist applicants by advising where these are.

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