The Chief Planner has written to all Heads of Planning in relation to the use of planning conditions imposing occupancy restrictions in housing developments.

Scottish planning policy recognises that in certain instances it may be appropriate for local planning authorities to impose a planning condition which restricts who can occupy a building or land.  A well-known example is restricting occupancy of an extension of a dwellinghouse to relatives of the dwellinghouse's owners (a "Granny annex").  In other instances it may be justified to make planning permission personal to the particular applicant, rather than allow the permission to "run with the land" as is usually the case.

The Chief Planner explains that it is now the Scottish Government’s policy to discourage the use of occupancy restrictions generally; but particularly in the case of housing.  Occupancy restrictions make obtaining funding from lenders difficult.  As a consequence, local planning authorities are encouraged to consider the acceptability of proposed urban and rural housing developments with reference to considerations other than occupancy restrictions; for example, whether the development has adequate road safety measures in place, and does not cause adverse visual impact.

Planning practice reflects the established policy, in that planners are already reluctant to impose occupancy restrictions. The effect of the Chief Planner’s letter will be to reinforce this reluctance.