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Make a planning application

Full planning permission

Full planning permission is a detailed planning application for property development or change of use. It requires full details of the design, siting, materials, access and parking facilities for your proposed development, with to-scale drawings. 

Planning permission in principle (PPP)

This process is to test the principle of a proposed development on a particular site (eg. residential, commercial, leisure).

It allows you to submit a limited level of information at the initial stage in the development process. This can be useful when:

  • there is uncertainty over the suitability of a development
  • a large site needs to be masterplanned over a period of many years

If granted, the principle of that development is then established. You will then have 3 years to submit applications for the approval of Matters Specified in Conditions (MSC).

MSC applications cover the details of a development, such as:

  • the means of access
  • layout
  • building designs
  • sustainable drainage
  • open space
  • landscaping

Please note: the granting of PPP does not enable physical works to be undertaken on a site without MSC approvals having also been granted. Only after both stages of approvals have been granted can works take place on the land. This is subject to other statutory consents also being in place, if necessary. The site boundaries in an MSC application must correspond with the PPP.

If the approved development does not begin within 3 years, the permission will lapse. This is the case unless you renew before the expiry date. 

However, if the principle of a development is not suitable for a particular site, the Council can refuse the application. We must give reasons for refusing to grant planning permission. You then have the right to submit an appeal either to:

  • our Local Review Body in relation to delegated decisions
  • the Scottish Government's Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA) for decisions taken by the Council's Planning Committee.

Details of how to appeal will be provided if necessary.

You will need

  • a description of the development
  • the name and address of the applicant, and agent (if any)
  • a postal address of the land, or a description of the location of the land
  • a certificate of ownership and notification to owners or tenants of agricultural holdings
  • a plan which clearly identifies the location of the application site
  • other plans and drawings necessary to describe the proposed development
  • for most proposals a fee

For advice on accompanying documents for planning applications, please see the Scottish Government approved National Validation Standard Document

Processing Agreements

North Ayrshire Council encourages the use of Processing Agreements for all major and complex planning applications.

Please note: processing agreements are not legally binding but are regarded as good practice for project management purposes.  

Before an application is made, Planning Services will draw up a draft agreement to set out what is expected of both the applicant and the Council. This helps to ensure that key targets and milestones are managed properly during the processing period with a view to reaching a decision by an agreed date within the statutory period whenever possible.

Apply online

The quickest, and most cost effective, way to make a planning application is via the ePlanning website. The site provides automated guidance.

It is a free service. Once you have created an account, you will be able to:

  • create and monitor your application
  • submit plans and drawings
  • pay fees
  • share your proposals information with others such as: planners, architects and neighbours
  • lodge an appeal

Apply for planning permission

Download the ePlanning user guide (PDF, 1.6mb)

Paper applications

Forms can be:

Use the Which Form? wizard for guidance.

If you apply via a paper form our subsequent communication with you will be by letter unless you request emails.

Help with applications

If you require additional guidance, or advice, please contact us.

If you have employed an architect, or other agent, they can complete the form(s) on your behalf.

Independent, impartial advice on planning matters is available from Planning Aid for Scotland (PAS) (free, subject to eligibility).

Further information on planning is available from the Scottish Government.


Use the ePlanning fee calculator to estimate costs. We advise that you contact us to determine an accurate fee based on our planning charges.

The planning application fee is an administrative fee and is non-refundable, regardless of whether your application is granted, rejected, or withdrawn.

Please note: Costs can also be incurred when purchasing a site location plan via ePlanning (you can provide your own as long as it complies with legislation).

Methods of payment

Fees are payable, at the time of the application, via:

  • the ePlanning portal, at time of online submission
  • online using Make a Payment
  • post by cheque (include your reference number on the reverse)

Cheques should be made payable to 'North Ayrshire Council'.

What happens next?

  1. the application will be registered as valid, this is the starting date of the period in which we aim to make a decision on the application.
  2. the application will be allocated to a case officer, who will be your point of contact throughout the application process. 
  3. we will send you, or your representative/agent, an acknowledgement. This will state the date by which we aim to have made a decision on the application, and the case officer's contact details. 
  4. the application will be entered into our Online Planning Information System (OPIS)
  5. where required, we will arrange for applications to be advertised and site notices displayed. Some advertisements require a fee to be paid by applicants, which will be assessed on receipt of an application. 
  6. the planning officer, dealing with the application, will consult with other council services or outside organisations. The extent of consultation will depend upon the complexity of the application, and may also include the local Community Council.
  7. the planning officer will visit the site and may wish to discuss the application with you, alert you to any problems, seek additional information or make suggestions on how the application may be improved.
  8. once all processes are complete a decision will be made on the application.

Planning application decisions

Planning applications are decided upon by either:

  • a planning officer utilising delegated authority
  • the Planning Committee, with recommendation from the planning officer

Written representations from members of the public will be taken into consideration during the process. If the committee requires further information, they may undertake a site visit.

Decision notice

We will send you, or your agent, a signed decision notice, advising you of the outcome:

  • application approved subject to conditions
  • application approved with no conditions
  • application refused

A redacted copy of the decision will be made available on OPIS. Anyone who has commented on, or is tracking your application will receive notification of the decision.

Right of appeal

If you don't agree with the decision, you have the right to request a review or appeal.

How long is planning permission valid for?

Construction should be started within 3 years of the date of planning permission. Conditions may require that certain matters are addressed prior to the start of any works. Any unusual time limits will be specified in the consent documents.

Contact Planning



  • general enquiries about planning permission, phone 01294 324319 during office hours
  • Local Development Plan and planning policy enquiries, phone 01294 324763


Planning Services, North Ayrshire Council, Cunninghame House, Irvine, KA12 8EE

Please note: to meet with one of our team at Cunninghame House, please contact us to make an appointment. For your convenience, officers are available to meet with you at other locations within North Ayrshire.