Section 25 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 states that the determination of a planning application shall be in accordance with the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise. This approach ensures that decision making does not simply adhere to policy provisions but that where there are material considerations of sufficient importance, these may out weigh the terms of the development plan.
Material considerations will include the responses received by the planning authority having consulted agencies internal and external to the Council that can bring relevant expertise to bear in relation to the circumstances and nature of the development.
Planning authorities are required by statute to consult certain agencies or bodies in given circumstances and to have regard to their comments. Planning authorities may additionally decide that a range of consultations wider than those designated by statute would be appropriate.