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Glossary of terms used on this site

There are 164 entries in this glossary.
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Term Definition
Catchment management plans

Documents prepared by the Environment Agency which set out its vision for the future of individual river catchments. They contain an analysis of the issues affecting each catchment, such as water and sewerage infrastructure, waste disposal and flood plain planning, with programmes of work to achieve proposed solutions.

Certificate of lawfulness

Can be issued by the local planning authority to describe the precise use, operation or building works on a site which is allowed without the need to apply for planning permission. Whether the development is lawful is defined in legislation under The Town & Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 and the Town & Country Planning Act 1990.

Change of use

All buildings are classified as having a use, for example, retail. Planning permission is generally required if you want to change this use. Some use changes count as permitted development so don’t need planning permission. For example, changing a hot food takeaway to a shop is permitted development.

Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)

CIL is a levy on new development that will be set by local planning authorities, and can be used to pay for new infrastructure such as schools and roads. CIL money will be collected to pay for infrastructure in a local authority area. While CIL is currently optional, from April 2013 local authorities will not be able to raise money for infrastructure through section 106 agreements. This means that most local authorities are likely to have a CIL scheme in place by this time.

Community Right to Build

The Community Right to Build, implemented through Community Right to Build Orders, allows a local community group to bring forward a small development for one or more purposes, such as new homes, businesses and community facilities, but it must be small scale in comparison to the size of settlement.

Community strategy

Community strategies should set out a vision for a local authority's area along with actions and commitments to further economic, social and environmental well-being. Community strategies are usually prepared by a body called a local strategic partnership, made up of representatives from local bodies and interest groups.

Competent authority

Under the EU directive on strategic environmental assessment (SEA), the competent authority is the body which must consider the SEA report before coming to a decision on whether to adopt a programme or plan.

Compulsory purchase

When land is taken without the agreement of the owner. Housing authorities and highway authorities are among the bodies that have compulsory purchase powers.


Planning conditions are provisions attached to the granting of planning permission. They can:

- Limit permitted development rights for a particular site.
- Modify the proposals in a planning application, by, for example, reducing the size of the affected site or adding a provision. On sites worked for minerals or waste disposal this can include restoration through backfilling of a certain type of soil, and/or 'aftercare' - to bring the land back into a use specified by the minerals planning authority.
- Govern the occupancy (though not the ownership) of dwellings used by agricultural workers.
- Grant planning permission only to a named person, rather than leave it in force for a site regardless of the owner as is usually the case.

Conditions are different from planning obligations, because they can only be enforced through the planning enforcement regime. Conditions also cannot involve cash payments by the developer, either voluntarily or at the request of the local planning authority. On the other hand, developers have the opportunity to get a condition removed that they don't like, by appealing against the imposition of conditions.

The Government's five policy tests for conditions are that they must be necessary, relevant to planning, relevant to the development to be permitted, enforceable, precise and reasonable in all other respects. More detail on Government policy on planning conditions is in Circular 11/1995 (found in Government policies).

Conservation area

An area of special architectural or historic interest, designated under the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1991, whose character and appearance it is desirable to preserve and enhance. There are special rules on some development in conservation areas.

Consultation statement

A document that needs to be submitted to the local planning authority with a draft Neighbourhood Plan. It should set out details of who was consulted on the draft Neighbourhood Plan, how they were consulted, the main issues and concerns raised, and how these have been addressed in your Neighbourhood Plan.

Core Strategy

The Core Strategy is the main part of a local authority's Local Plan. It should set out the vision, spatial strategy and core policies for the spatial development of the area.

County council

The elected governing body of a county. Counties are usually divided into several districts, each with its own separate local administration (districts may be called boroughs in some cases). County council responsibilities include transport, schools, administrating births and marriages, and minerals and waste planning.

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