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Development Planning

Development Planning embraces the preparation of the Development Plan and other supporting policies, information or studies to guide future development and the use of land within West Lothian and which form the basis for making decisions on planning applications.

The Development Plan sets out a vision of how West Lothian should develop in a sustainable way, it is used by us for making decisions on development proposals and should be used by you before you make or comment on a planning application.

Major changes were made to the way in which the Development Plan for the area is prepared. You can find more about these changes from the Scottish Government website.

What makes up the development plan?

The development plan is a document that sets out how places should change and what they could be like in the future and is a land use based plan. The development plan has implications for the way we live our lives.

It says what type of development should take place where, and which areas should not be developed. It sets out the best locations for new homes and businesses and protects places of value to people or wildlife.

The plan also helps development to take place quickly by describing how any new or improved facilities, such as roads, schools and parks, will be provided.

The Development Plan for West Lothian consists of two tiers:

  • A Strategic Development Plan (SDP)

Prepared by SESplan (who works with West Lothian, Midlothian, East Lothian, City of Edinburgh, Borders and Fife councils), was approved by Scottish Ministers is available from the SESplan website.

  • The West Lothian Local Development Plan (LDP).

If you want to find out if your proposal can be supported by the development plan, send us the details and we'll assess them for you. You can find a pre-application enquiry form at Pre-Application Enquiry. Please note that the council charges for this service.

How do the plans fit together?

The Strategic Development Plan covers a wide range of issues such as housing, transport, employment, shopping, recreation, renewable energy, minerals and waste, conserving and protecting wildlife and the countryside. The plan takes a long-term view of development, considering how much and broadly where it should go. After SESplan have consulted with you and organisations, they submit the Strategic Development Plan to the Scottish Government for approval.

The Strategic Development Plan provides:

  • Strategic land-use framework at the city regional level
  • Policy context for the emerging West Lothian Local Development Plan
  • Framework for investment (both public and private)
  • Basis for decision-making
  • Complete and consistent consideration of the environment
  • A twenty year time span, reviewed after the first five years
  • Policies and proposals approved by the Scottish Ministers

The Local Development Plan (LDP) sets out detailed policies and proposals to guide development. 

Local Development Plans are:

  • Obviously more local and cover a smaller area than the Strategic Development Plan
  • Detailed and site specific
  • Reviewed every five years
  • Adopted by us as planning authority

What other policies, information or studies are available to support the development plan?

There are a number of policies and studies which support the delivery of the development plan and more information on these are shown below.

  • Supplementary planning guidance

Prepared in a number of topics to help support an up-to-date and consistent application of development plan policies (including developer contribution policies)

  • Background information and studies; these include the Housing Land Audit and retail capacity studies.


Privacy Notice - Development Planning and Environment

Information held about you

When you contact the Development Planning & Environment team by phone, email or post, we will collect personal information about you and other parties, for example: your name, your phone number, your email address and your home address, and at times we may need or you will want to supply other information depending on the nature of the communication. 

Who is processing my data?

All personal information is held and processed by West Lothian Council in accordance with data protection law. 

How will we use information we hold about you?

We will use this information in order to process your enquiry or to respond to representations made in relation to the statutory plan making function under the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 or other activities undertaken by the council's Development Planning & Environment Team which you choose to participate in.

If you subscribe to a newsletter or request to be added to our customer contact database, we will store your contact details confidentially, in accordance with the Data Protection Act, and will not pass them on to any third parties. You will also be offered the opportunity to unsubscribe at any time through the newsletters/documentation you receive.

Who we will share your information with?

Your personal information will not be shared with any other person or organisation outside West Lothian Council except where it is statutorily required to do so.

Under planning legislation, documentation relating to the preparation of the Local Development Plan must be made available for public inspection as part of the statutory process and must also be provided to the Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA) of the Scottish Government.

Representations are normally published on the council's planning portal but in order to protect your personal data from any unnecessary disclosure we will remove personal information such as signatures, personal e-mail address and personal phone numbers before publication. Information placed on the planning portal is available for anyone to view.  

How long do we keep your records?

Where the law does not set a period, the council will keep your information for no longer than it is required for the purpose for which it was collected.

Because these periods can vary, there is no single answer to how long we will require to keep your information. West Lothian Council have adopted the Scottish Council for Archives Records Retention Schedules (SCARRS) model as the basis to the council's approved retention schedules.

Your rights

You have a number of rights under data protection law, including the right to request your information and to request that the information be amended if incorrect or, in some circumstances, erased.

To make a request for information, amendment or erasure, you are required to put your request in writing and provide proof of identification to West Lothian Council, West Lothian Civic Centre, Howden South Road, Livingston, West Lothian, EH54 6FF, or to    

Providing accurate information

It is important that we hold accurate and up to date information about you in order to carry out our statutory duties as planning authority and to provide you with the highest level of customer service. If any of your details change, please ensure that you tell us as soon as possible so that we can update your records.

Further information

If you have any questions or concerns about how your information is used, please contact the Development Planning & Environment Manager at West Lothian Council, West Lothian Civic Centre, Howden South Road, Livingston, West Lothian, EH54 6FF, or at  You can also contact the Data Protection Officer, West Lothian Council, West Lothian Civic Centre, Howden South Road, Livingston, West Lothian, EH54 6FF, email: More information about data protection and how it applies to you, including how to make a complaint, is available from the Information Commissioner's Office.