Orkney Islands Council
Working together for a better Orkney

Material Planning Considerations

There is no legal definition of what constitutes a “material consideration” but some of the most common material planning considerations include, in no particular order:

  • National planning policies.
  • Proposed local development plan policies and supplementary guidance (i.e., those which have been approved by the Council for consultation purposes or as interim guidance, but have not become part of the adopted local development plan).
  • Appearance and design (e.g. materials, height, scale, massing, density and layout).
  • Potential nuisances (e.g. noise, smell, fumes, dust, glare, flicker).
  • Impact on privacy.
  • Loss of daylight.
  • Impact on natural heritage and biodiversity.
  • Impact on the setting of scheduled monument, listed building, or conservation area and evidence of archaeology.
  • Compatibility with neighbouring uses (e.g. mixture of appropriate uses in a town centre).
  • Sewerage or drainage capacity.
  • Potential for pollution or contamination.
  • Potential for flooding.
  • Meeting identified local needs (e.g. affordable housing, social facilities).
  • Economic benefits (e.g. employment creation).
  • Access and transportation (e.g. road safety, parking, traffic generation, effect on pedestrians).
  • Planning history of the site, including previous planning decisions.
  • Sustainability and climate change.

In general the following are not material considerations and should be ignored:

  • Personal circumstances of the applicant.
  • Loss of a view.
  • Devaluation of property.
  • Private property rights (e.g. boundary and access disputes).
  • Cost of the development.
  • Title restrictions.
  • Applicant’s lack of ownership of the site.
  • The identity of an occupier, user or developer.
  • Moral considerations (e.g. religious objection to development operating on a Sunday).
  • Political considerations or ideological dislikes.
  • Issues covered by other legislation (e.g. health and safety regulations, licensing).
  • Any factor indicating that there is a lack of prospect of the development proceeding.