Building Designation Appeals

Last updated: 17 April 2018

Historic Environment Scotland has a list of buildings that have special architectural or historic interest.

These buildings are protected from standard development work – anyone who wants to do this has to ask for special permission.

You have the right to appeal to Scottish Ministers if Historic Environment Scotland:

  • adds a building to the list
  • makes a change to an entry on the list

Further information is available in:

How to appeal

You have 3 months to appeal starting from the date of Historic Environment Scotland's decision.

To appeal, download a 'Building designation appeals' form and submit it to Scottish Ministers by either email or post to the address on the form. You should also send a copy to Historic Environment Scotland.

Your appeal submission must include:

  • all the documents, materials and evidence you want to use
  • any letters or emails between you and Historic Environment Scotland
  • your appeal, if you're appealing by post

Your appeal must be made within 3 months of the date of Historic Environment Scotland's decision. Any appeals made after this time won't be considered. To make sure your appeal isn't turned away because it's too late, be sure to make your appeal in plenty of time before the end of the 3-month period.

There's no cost for sending an appeal, but you'll be responsible for your own expenses.

The appeals process

Once you make an appeal the Scottish Government will put a reporter in charge of considering it.

Historic Environment Scotland must give its response to your appeal within 21 days. You won't be able to respond again after this, unless its response brings up new issues that weren't mentioned on the original notice.

The appeals process has a strict timetable with deadlines for each stage. If you send information after the deadline, it'll be sent back to you and may not be considered. Make sure everything's sent on time.

The reporter will consider your submissions along with Historic Environment Scotland's response, and any representations made by any other party.

If the reporter considers that a decision can be made based on this information and that no site inspection is required, they'll aim to issue a decision within 8 weeks of receiving the appeal.

The reporter may need to get more information to reach a decision. If they do, they might ask for one or all of the following:

  • an inspection of the site
  • more written submissions
  • a hearing session (a structured meeting)
  • an inquiry session (a more formal event similar to a court case)

Inspection of the site

A site inspection allows a reporter to view the site and understand the issues that have been raised.

The reporter decides if a site inspection will be accompanied or unaccompanied. If it's accompanied, Historic Environment Scotland and the person making the appeal will be invited to attend. Anyone else, like those who have made representations about the appeal, will be told about the arrangements and invited to the site inspection.

The reporter can't discuss the merits of the appeal.

If the reporter chooses an unaccompanied visit, they will inspect the site alone.

If the reporter thinks a decision can be made based on submissions and a site inspection, they will aim to issue a decision within 12 weeks of receiving the appeal.

Further Written submission

If the reporter needs further written submissions they will request it from the person they think will be most suitable to provide it.

If this happens the reporter will aim to issue a decision within 20 weeks of receiving the appeal.

Hearing or public local inquiry

The reporter may decide that the information they need would be best presented at hearing or inquiry session.

The difference between a hearing sessions and an inquiry session is:

  • a hearing session is a structured discussion led by the reporter
  • an inquiry session is more like a court case - witnesses give evidence in front of the reporter

The reporter will decide if a hearing or inquiry session is required. If it is, they will aim to issue the decision on the appeal within 26 weeks (if it's a hearing) or 32 weeks (if it's an inquiry session).

Claiming expenses

You can submit a claim for expenses against a person or organisation if you think they have acted unreasonably and caused you unnecessary expense. This can be in the form of a written statement sent by an email or letter.

On receipt of a claim of expenses, the person or organisation the claim's made against (the 'opposing party') will be given 14 days to provide any comments.

The reporter will decide if they have acted unreasonably and will decide any costs that should be paid to cover these expenses.

The expenses claim is separate to the appeal. If you get awarded expenses this doesn't necessarily mean your appeal will be successful too.

If you want to withdraw your appeal

You must contact the Scottish Government if you want to withdraw your appeal.

You can do this any time before the reporter makes a decision.

You must contact the Scottish Government if you want to withdraw your appeal, or put in a request to the reporter to apply a hold on the appeal (known as a SIST).

Email the Scottish Government at or write to them at:

Planning and Environmental Appeals Division
4 The Courtyard
Callendar Business Park

The decision

After taking all the evidence into account, the reporter will either:

  • support the original decision
  • overturn the decision
  • issue a decision (if Historic Environment Scotland originally failed to give one)

You'll get a decision notice sent to you once the reporter has made a decision.

This will include the terms of the decision and the reasons for it.

How to challenge a reporter's decision

You can challenge the reporter's decision at the Court of Session.

You can't appeal the decision because you disagree with it, but you can challenge the decision if you think there was important evidence that the reporter misunderstood or didn't take into account.

If you want to challenge a reporter's decision:

  • the appeal to the Court of Session must be submitted within 42 days (6 weeks) of the date of the decision
  • you may have to cover the legal costs and any expenses should the challenge fail
  • anyone with sufficient interest can submit a challenge

You should seek advice from a lawyer if you're unsure about any part of this.