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Glossary of terms used on this site

There are 164 entries in this glossary.
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Term Definition
Parish or town council

Parish or town councils, where they exist, are the lowest tier of local government in England. Around 30% of England’s population is governed by a parish council, predominantly in rural areas. Some urban areas, and notably Milton Keynes, are also parished. Parish and town councils are elected bodies and have powers to raise taxes. Their responsibilities vary, but can include provision of parks and allotments, maintenance of village halls, litter control, and maintenance of local landmarks.

Permitted development rights

Rights to carry out certain limited forms of development without the need to make an application for planning permission, as granted under the terms of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995.

Plan-led system

The 'plan-led system' is one of the fundamental principles that guides how planning works. The meaning comes from Section 54a of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, which states that decisions made under any of the planning acts 'shall be made in accordance with the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise'. This duty has been reiterated in Section 38 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, which replaces Section 54a. This means that the development plan for a given area is the most important factors to be taken into account when making a decision on a planning application.

Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act '04

The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act (2004) was a major piece of planning legislation, which amended much of the Town and Country Planning Act (1990). In particular, the 2004 act made significant changes to the system of development plans and introduced ‘sustainable development’ as an objective of the planning system.

Planning control

See development management.

Planning gain

The principle of a planning applicant agreeing to provide additional benefits or safeguards, often for the benefit of the community, usually in the form of related development. See also planning obligations and agreements and section 106 agreements.

Planning Inspectorate

The Planning Inspectorate is an independent Government agency that processes planning and enforcement appeals and holds inquiries into local development plans. It also deals with a wide variety of other planning-related casework, including listed building consent appeals, advertisement appeals and reporting on planning applications.

Planning policy guidance note

See Government planning policy.


See Government planning policy


See Government planning policy

Previously developed land

See brownfield

Proof of evidence

The written account of the evidence a witness intends to put before the inspector at a planning appeal.

Proposals map

A proposals map should be a spatial representation of the Local Plan. It should, therefore: identify areas that are protected, such as nationally protected landscape and internationally, nationally and locally designated areas and sites, and Green Belt land; show areas at risk from flooding; allocate sites for particular land use and development proposals included in any adopted Development Plan Document (DPD); and set out the areas to which specific policies apply.

Public inquiry

A general term, sometimes loosely used to mean any hearing on a planning appeal or local plan, but also more specifically to refer to an inquiry on a major development proposal, such as a new port, which has been called in by the secretary of state for his own decison. See also local inquiry, local plan inquiry and public local inquiry.

Public local inquiry

Term sometimes used to refer to hearings held by the Planning Inspectorate on things such as planning appeals and disputes over rights of way. See also public inquiry

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