Affordable Housing

Housing of a reasonable quality that is affordable to people on modest incomes. Social rented housing or housing which costs less than market value, including shared ownership/equity products; some affordable housing needs, are also met in the private rented sector at rents below market levels.

Allocated Site

Land identified as appropriate for a specific land use.

Article 4 Direction

Direction removing some or all permitted development rights, for example within a conservation area. Article 4 directions are issued by local planning authorities.

Bill of Quantities

A detailed document produced by a quantity surveyor where all construction items are measured and quantified. This document is used by contractors to price building works.


The variety of life on Earth at all its levels, from genes to ecosystems, and the ecological and evolutionary processes that sustain it.

Brownfield Land

Land which has previously been developed. The term may cover vacant or derelict land, land occupied by redundant or unused buildings and developed land within the settlement boundary where further intensification of use is considered acceptable.

Borrow Pit

A temporary mineral working to supply material for a specific construction project.

Build to Rent

Residential property specifically built for the rental market.

Certificate of Final Completion

A certificate issued (usually by an architect) that all building works are completed to the issuer’s satisfaction.

Certificate of Practical Completion

A certificate issued (usually by an architect) that certifies that the building’s construction is largely complete except for very minor items that need correcting or completing. Money is retained by the developer to cover these minor works which is released when a certificate of final completion is issued.

Climate Change

A change in the ‘average weather’ that a given region experiences. Average
weather includes all the features we associate with the weather such as temperature, wind patterns
and precipitation.

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Conservation Area

An area of special architectural or historic interest.

Contaminated Land

Land that has been polluted or harmed in some way making it unfit for safe development and usage unless cleaned.


The intensity of development in a given area. Usually measured as net dwelling density, calculated by including only those site areas which will be developed for housing and directly associated uses, including access roads within the site, private garden space, car parking areas, incidental open space and landscaping and children’s play areas, where these are provided.

Design and Build

A method of procuring building works where the contractor is also responsible of designing the scheme to meet the client’s brief.

Design Statement

A design statement can be made at a preplanning application stage by a developer, indicating the design principles upon which a proposal is to be based. It may also be submitted in support of a planning application. They should meet the requirements contained within the Scottish Government Planning Advice Note 68: Design Statements.

Development Appraisal

An assessment which looks at the viability of any development project. It’s an essential tool when it comes to cash flow planning for the project. Appraisal techniques may include Residual or Discounted Cash Flow analysis.

Development Cost

Total cost to construct the the development project excluding finance and site value.

Development Plan

Statutory Development Plan setting out the policies and allocations that direct future development in an area.

Effective Housing Land Supply

Effective housing land supply is the part of the established housing land supply which is free or expected to be free of development constraints in the period under consideration, and will therefore be available for the construction of housing.

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

Is a means of drawing together, in a systematic way, an assessment of the likely significant environmental effects arising from a proposed development.

Environmental Designations

Environmental Designations protect natural heritage (including biodiversity and habitats) through statutory powers. Examples include Ramsar Sites, Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), and Special Protection Areas (SPAs).

Environmental Report

Document required by the Environment Act as part of an environmental
assessment, which identifies, describes and evaluates the likely significant effects on the
environment of implementing a plan or programme.


The temporary covering by water from any source of land not normally covered by water,
but does not include a flood solely from a sewerage system.

Flood Risk

The combination of the probability of a flood and of the potential adverse consequences, associated with a flood, for human health, the environment, cultural heritage and economic activity.

Green Belt

Land usually around large built-up areas, which aims to keep this land permanently open or largely undeveloped.

Green Infrastructure

The network of protected sites, green spaces and linkages which provide for multi-functional uses relating to ecological services, quality of life and economic value.

Greenfield Sites

Sites which have never been previously developed, or are fully restored derelict land.

Gross Development Value

This is the market value of the development upon completion and is one of the most important metrics when considering a development project.

Heads of Terms

A document setting out the main terms of a commercial agreement reached between parties in a transaction. The document records the future intentions of parties wishing to take part in a transaction but does not enforce obligations on them

Hope Value

The price paid for land, in excess of its existing use value, when a purchaser believes there is a chance of obtaining consent to carry out an alternative, more valuable form of development.

Infill Development

The development of a relatively small gap between existing buildings.


Services and facilities needed to allow development to take place. This can include roads, sewers, planting, schools, open space, bus services, community halls and waste management considerations such as mini-recycling centres etc.

In Principle Planning Application

Planning permission to establish that the principle of planning is acceptable.

Joint Venture

The practice of entering into a partnership with on or other development partners to carry out a development project.

Listed Building

A building of special architectural quality or of historic interest.

Major Development

Major developments are those exceeding thresholds set by the Scottish Government in Planning Circular 5 of 2009.

Material Considerations

A matter that should be taken into account in deciding a planning application or on an appeal against a planning decision.


Measures to avoid reduce or offset significant adverse effects on the environment. Monitoring – Activities undertaken after the decision is made to adopt the Plan or programme to examine its implementation. For example, monitoring to examine whether the significant environmental effects occur as predicted or to establish whether mitigation and enhancement measures are implemented and are working.

National Planning Framework

The Scottish Government’s strategy for the long-term development of Scotland’s towns, cities and countryside. The NPF is about shaping Scotland’s future and is concerned with how Scotland develops over the next 20 years and how to make that possible. The NPF identifies key strategic infrastructure needs to ensure that each part of the country can develop to its full potential.

National Scenic Area

An Area which is recognised nationally for its scenic quality.

Natura Site

A Special Area of Conservation or a Special Protection Area.

Noise Sensitive Land Uses

Receptors where people or operations are particularly susceptible to noise. Examples include housing, hospitals, educational establishments, offices, places of worship and nursing homes, some livestock farms and areas that are been relatively undisturbed by noise as generally set out within Scottish Government Planning Advice Note 1/2011.

Open Space

Space within and on the edge of settlements comprising green infrastructure and/or civic areas such as squares, market places and other paved or hard landscaped areas with a civic function. It can also incorporate outdoor playing areas and recreational grounds.

Option Agreement

Contract which allows the buyer of the option, the right to purchase the asset at some time in the future if they wish to do so. Options arrangements are commonly used where there is no planning designation for a proposed use. The option to purchase is often triggered by achieving an enhanced planning designation ie from agricultural use to residential use.

Permitted Development Order

A planning instrument that allows certain activity which would normally constitute development taking place without the requirement for making a formal planning application.

Planning Obligations or Section 75 Legal Agreement

Restricting or regulating the development or use of land by requiring operations or activities to be carried out; or by requiring the land to be used in a specific way (Source: Town & Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997, as amended by the Planning etc. (Scotland) Act 2006). Planning Obligations may be wide-ranging but must meet all of the policy tests set out in Planning Circular 3/2012: Planning obligations and good neighbour agreements. 

Precautionary Principle

The assumption that an activity or development might be damaging unless it can be proved otherwise.

Prime Quality Agricultural Land

Prime agricultural land is agricultural land identified as being of Class 1, 2 or 3.1 in the land capability classification for agriculture as developed by the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute.

Promotion Agreement

A promotion agreement is an agreement that a landowner has with a planning specialist to promote the landowner’s land through the planning process in order to gain planning permission. Once planning permission is granted then the landowner and the promoter work together to market and sell the land.

Ransom Value

Where intervening land prevents a development being exercised. Usually access or utilities related.

Red Book Valuation

This is a valuation that has been undertaken in line with the standards and procedures set out by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Sales Rate

The speed of sales of a development, usually measured by units per month.

Sensitivity Analysis

A technique used to assess the impact of different variables/scenarios within a development appraisal such as rising construction costs or programme overrun.

Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)

An area of land or water (to the seaward limits of local authority areas) that Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) considers to best represent our natural heritage – its diversity of plants, animals and habitats, rocks and landforms, or a combination of such natural features. They are the essential building blocks of Scotland’s protected areas for nature conservation. Many are also designated as Natura sites. A SSSI is designated by SNH under the provisions of the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004.

Special Area of Conservation (SAC)

A strictly protected site designated under the European Council

Habitats Directive (Directive 92/43/EEC). A SAC is classified for habitats and species (excluding birds) which are considered to be most in need of conservation at a European level and are listed in Annexes of the Directive.

Special Protection Area (SPA)

A strictly protected site designated under the provisions of Article 4 of the European Council Birds Directive (Directive 2009/147/EC). A SPA is classified for rare and vulnerable birds, as listed at Annex I of the Directive, and for regularly occurring migratory bird species.


A strictly protected site designated under the provisions of Article 4 of the European Council Birds Directive (Directive 2009/147/EC). A SPA is classified for rare and vulnerable birds, as listed at Annex I of the Directive, and for regularly occurring migratory bird species.

Supplementary Planning Guidance

Guidance prepared by the Council, which supplements the
guidance given in the Local Development Plan, and has equal weight in decision-making.

Sustainable Development

This concept recognises that achieving economic growth has to be done in such a way that does not harm the environment or squander the natural resources we depend on, whilst at the same time distributing the wealth this creates equally to improve quality of life now and in the future.

Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (Suds)

A range of techniques for managing the flow of surface water run-off from a site by attenuation, settlement or treatment on site, and so reducing the flow to receiving watercourses and conventional piped drainage systems.

Tourism-Related Development

Development in hospitality, leisure and retail facilities and infrastructure where the primary purpose is to attract tourism visits (overnight and/or leisure day visits) thereby generating revenues and employment within the local economy.

Windfall Site

The term ‘windfall sites’ is used to refer to those sites which become available for development unexpectedly and are therefore not included as allocated land in the development plan. For example, a bus depot may shut down or an industrial site become vacant which may provide a suitable location for housing.