Respond - Historic Advice

Historic Grounds for Objection

Once you have addressed any general grounds for objection, you can now investigate the historic aspects. Historic sites are all protected in Scotland by the Scottish Executive planning guidelines. NPPG 18 is the Scottish Executives national guideline for listed or historic sites, and this document will undoubtedly form the basis of your local planning guideline. From these you can establish where the proposed plans for the listed site do not meet national or local planning policy. Although by no means an exhaustive list, some grounds for objection at historic or listed sites might be:

  • The character, site or setting of the listed building or area will be negatively altered
  • The proposed plans are not sympathetic:
    • Concrete sills, plastic gutters, tiles instead of slate
    • Windows, doors or landscaping is out of character
  • Alternatives to the proposed plans exist (eg restoration rather than demolition)
  • The historic building is still serving a functional purpose, so does not need to change
  • Heavy traffic generated (either during or after construction) poses a structural risk to a listed building

There are many more, and you should only include arguments that are relevant to your site. Some of these arguments are stronger than others. For example, NPPG 18 indicates that a development should not go ahead if it represents a significant loss of character or setting at a listed site. Of course you then have to demonstrate in your objection letter that the proposed plans does indeed represent a "significant" loss.

Listed sites, by their virtue, are less common. This means that the planning department and council may be unfamiliar with the historic aspects of the planning process. For this reason you should double check absolutely everything on the plans to ensure they meet the historic planning policies.

Although the most applicable, NPPG 18 is not the only resource at your disposal. For example, you should investigate why the site was listed in the first place (this information is on the Historic Scotland website). Ask yourself which parts of the listing will be affected by the proposed plans? For a growing list of resources to explore please see our Helpful Planning Links section.

Write Your Letter

Make sure to include the planning application number on all correspondences. Also include a statement to the effect of "I trust this letter will be presented when this application goes to committee". The planning department does not need to show your letter to the councillors, and this closing request may help to it does.


  • To have a voice, you have to respond to a planning notice
  • Check the notice period you have to respond within
  • See the full plans, either on-line or at your local planning office
  • Check if the application negatively impacts the site - it may actually be an improvement
  • General grounds for objection are loss of privacy, increased traffic etc
  • Listed sites are generally protected against applications which are detrimental to the site, setting or character
  • Keep your letter objective, not personal
  • Get a copy of NPPG 18 and your local council planning guidelines, and read it. Quote from national and local planning guidelines, if applicable, and include references
  • Include a statement asking for your letter to be shown to committee, and write the planning application number on all correspondences