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Planning (Scotland) Act 2019

Section 33: Completion notices

179.Section 61 of the 1997 Act allows the planning authority, where they consider that development will not be completed within a reasonable period, to serve a notice (a completion notice) stating that, once the notice is confirmed, planning permission will cease to have effect at the expiration of a period specified in the notice (to be not less than 12 months from either the date specified in the notice as the date the notice takes effect or, if the notice is objected to, from the date the Scottish Ministers confirm the notice). The loss of planning permission will affect only the elements of the permission unimplemented by the end of this period. The notice is served on any owner or occupier of the land to which permission relates and any other person who in the opinion of the planning authority will be affected by the notice. Section 62(1) of the 1997 Act provides that a completion notice will not take effect unless confirmed by the Scottish Ministers. Section 62(3) of the 1997 Act provides that the completion notice must specify a period of not less than 28 days within which any person served with a completion notice can require the Scottish Ministers to give that person an opportunity of appearing before and being heard by a person appointed by the Scottish Ministers before a notice is confirmed.

180.Section 33 of the Act amends sections 61 and 62 of the 1997 Act and introduces a new section 62A to the 1997 Act to remove the requirement for the Scottish Ministers to confirm every completion notice, while giving recipients of a notice a right to object which would trigger the need for the Scottish Ministers to confirm the notice.

181.Section 33(2) of the Act adds new subsections (3A) and (3B) to section 61 of the 1997 Act. The first of these inserted subsections requires the completion notice to indicate that the recipient has a right to lodge an objection and specify the date on which the notice will take effect unless an objection is lodged before that date. New subsection (3B) restates a rule currently in section 62(3) of the 1997 Act that at least 28 days must elapse following the date of service of the notice before it can take effect (which also means that the objection period must be at least 28 days). Section 33(3)(a) of the Act amends section 62(1) of the 1997 Act so that a completion notice takes effect on the date specified in the notice unless a recipient of the notice makes an objection prior to that date; where an objection is so made, the notice only takes effect if confirmed by the Scottish Ministers. Section 33(3)(b) of the Act deletes subsections (2) and (3) of section 62 of the 1997 Act which dealt with, respectively, the Scottish Ministers’ power to set a longer period for compliance with the notice when confirming it, and for giving any recipient of the notice the right to appear before a person appointed by the Scottish Minsters before they confirm a notice. Equivalent rules are instead now provided for in, respectively, inserted section 62A(5) and inserted section 62A(3). Section 33(3)(c) of the Act makes some minor and consequential amendments.

182.Section 33(4) of the Act introduces a new section 62A (objection to completion notice) to the 1997 Act. It in essence deals with the matters previously contained in sections 62(2) and (3) of the 1997 Act. New section 62A(1) specifies the right of a recipient to object to the planning authority about the service of the completion notice. The provisions in new sections 62A(2) and (3) of the 1997 Act on handling objections are different from existing provisions in that they, respectively, require that the planning authority give notice to the Scottish Ministers and all the recipients of the notice of the fact that objections have been made, and allow the Scottish Ministers to decide any further procedure for considering objections – e.g. whether written submissions, a hearing or an inquiry is needed. New section 62A(4) contains a new requirement for the Scottish Ministers to tell those served with the completion notice and the planning authority of their decision on whether or not to confirm the notice. New section 62A(5) restates the existing provision mentioned above that allows Scottish Ministers to set a longer period when they confirm a notice.

183.Sections 33(5) and (6) of the Act make consequential amendments to other sections of the 1997 Act as a result of the amendments to the provisions on completion notices.

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