If you want to deal with Planners

A guide compiled by Lorna McHattie

If you want to deal with planning departments you’ll find it helpful to know the basics of how they work.

It doesn’t matter whether you want to support a project you’re involved in or to make suggestions about a proposal you don’t like. Knowing what’s important and how to present it can make the difference between being read or discarded at the first sort.


Over many years as a successful activist, Lorna has refined this handy guide. You will find tips on how to get on the right side of planning officers and councilors, together with sample letter templates and links to useful contacts.

Planning permission

Planningpermission is required for:


  1. Internal alterations of listed buildings
  2. Certain external alterations of all buildings
  3. All alterations in certain protected areas, such as some streets in Kingswells.


When commenting on a planning application, the Local Authority and Scottish Government only consider those comments which refer to ‘material’ matters. To be ‘material’ a matter must be addressed explicitly in the Local Development Plan for the area.


This means, if you want your concerns to clear the first hurdle and be considered, you will need to read the Local Development Plan for your area. Then you must relate your concerns to it in some way.


Contact details and links are listed below. You can submit comments on the web pages or write to the Council offices.


Letters do not have to be long and complex. They should be proportionate to the size of the application. Here are links to two examples:

  1. A large development of 245 residential flats
  2. A small extension to a house in a residential street

Visit the following webpages for information about how to deal with Planning in your area.  Remember, 

Use these webpages to submit comments on planning applications, or write to the relevant Council offices.

Aberdeen City 

Strategic Place Planning

Aberdeen City Council

Business Hub 4

Marischal College

Broad Street


AB10 1AB



01224 523470

Formartine Area Office

29 Bridge Street


AB41 9AA


01467 538439

Marr Area Office

School Road


AB33 8TY


01975 520400

Banff and Buchan Area Office

Town House

34 Low Street


AB45 1AY


01467 530700

Garioch Area Office

Gordon House

Blackhall Road


AB51 3WB


01467 533200

Buchan Area Office

Buchan HouseSt Peter Street


AB42 1QF



01467 537259

Kincardine and Mearns Area Office


Arduthie Road


AB39 2DQ


01569 690541

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