Certificate of appropriate alternative development appeals

Last updated: 20 February 2018

A Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) allows councils and other organisations to buy land without the owner's permission. If this happens to your land, you can apply to the planning authority for a 'certificate of appropriate alternative development'.

This certificate explains what you planned for the land if it hadn't been bought. To get this certificate, you need to have had planning permission for this use e.g. permission to convert the land into a house.

If the CPO doesn't go ahead, the certificate allows you to develop the land in the way you wanted.

There's guidance on objecting a Compulsory Purchase Order on the Scottish Government website.

How to appeal

You can appeal to Scottish Ministers if:

  • you disagree with what's in the certificate issued by the planning authority
  • if the planning authority doesn't issue the certificate within two months of your application

You can appeal online using the Online Appeal and Application System.

Guidance for using the online appeals system is available as a PDF on the eplanning.scot website.

Alternatively, you can complete the AAC (CAAD) form on the gov.scot website.

There is no fee for this type of appeal but you'll need to cover any expenses.

The appeals process

Once you make an appeal, the Scottish Government will appoint a reporter to report with recommendations to Scottish Ministers, who will make the final decision.

The planning authority must give its response to your appeal within 21 days. You will then have a further 14 days to comment on any new information submitted by the authority.

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

The reporter will consider your submissions along with the authority's response and any representations made by any other party.

The reporter may consider that a report can be submitted on the basis of this information and no site inspection.

The reporter may need to get more information in order to complete the report. If they do, they might require one or all of the following:

  • an inspection of the site
  • further 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, the planning authority and 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.

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.

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.

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.

The reporter will consider if they have acted unreasonably. Scottish Ministers will decide whether expenses should be awarded.

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 before Scottish Ministers make a decision.

Email the Scottish Government at DPEA@gov.scot 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, Scottish Ministers will either:

  • support the authority's original decision
  • overturn the authority's decision
  • issue a decision (if the authority originally failed to give one)

You'll get a decision notice sent to you once Scottish Ministers have made a decision.

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

How to challenge Scottish Ministers' decision

You can challenge the 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 has been misunderstood or not taken into account.

If you want to challenge Scottish Ministers' 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