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Strategic Development Plan

A Strategic Development Plan is a statutory planning document which is prepared or updated every five years and covers a twenty year time period. It communicates strategic level and cross-boundary planning policy, and applies national policy and guidance from the Scottish Government. It is used to inform the Local Development Plans prepared by each of the Member Authorities in the region.

SDP1 replaced the Edinburgh and the Lothians Structure Plan, the Fife Structure Plan (in part) and the Scottish Borders Structure Plan.

SESplan is the current Strategic Development Planning Authority for the Edinburgh and South East Scotland region and comprising the City of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian, Scottish Borders, West Lothian and the southern half of the Fife council area.

Since its inception the key role of SESplan has been to prepare and maintain an up-to-date Strategic Development Plan (SDP) for the area, the first of which (SDP1) was approved by Scottish Ministers (with modifications) on 27 June 2013. The modifications included a requirement that SESplan prepare supplementary guidance to identify the individual housing requirements for Local Development Plan areas. The supplementary guidance was approved by Scottish Ministers and was formally adopted as part of the development plan by all SESplan authorities on 28 October 2014.

Information about the Scottish Ministers decision is also available on the planning pages of the Scottish Government website and on the SESplan website.

For information: The Planning (Scotland) Bill

The Planning (Scotland) Bill which was introduced to Parliament on 4 December 2017 is central to a package of measures intended to strengthen the planning system's contribution to inclusive growth and empowering communities. The Bill sets out a series of proposed high level changes to the overall framework under which planning operates. Of particular significance are proposals to streamline the development plan system by replacing the duty to prepare strategic development plans and refocusing work at this scale so that it can support wider regional partnership working. Specifically, the Planning Bill removes the requirement for strategic development plans but at the same time introduces a power to direct authorities to provide information, collaboratively if appropriate, to assist in preparation of the NPF and which will form part of the development plan. 

The Scottish Parliament passed the Planning (Scotland) Bill on 20 June 2019. There follows a four-week period for legal objections to be raised. If none are raised or four weeks pass, it is anticipated that the Bill will receive Royal Assent shortly thereafter. 

If you have any questions relating to Development Planning issues or just want to provide feedback and comments on our service, please email the Development Planning team at You can also write to us at Development Planning and Environment, West Lothian Civic Centre, Howden South Road, Livingston, West Lothian EH54 6FF or phone 01506 280000.

Alternatively, you can contact a member of the SESplan team directly by sending an email to

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