Planning decisions in your area are made by the local planning authority (usually your district or unitary council). Individual planning decisions have to be made in line with the policies laid out in a tiered series of strategic documents. These go from local plans, that cover a whole county or city, to individual neighbourhood plans and village design statements. Each of these documents must reflect the needs and desires of the communities they cover. This means that you and your neighbourhood group can have a role in shaping them.
Getting involved in the creation of local and neighbourhood plans is the best way to shape your local area and ensure that future development meets the needs of your community. This section contains descriptions of the main documents that govern development in your area, and our guides on how you can influence their creation.
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Local Plans set out the big decisions on planning for the future of your community and land. They outline the long-term strategy for each planning authority.
These plans are created by your parish council, town council, or neighbourhood forum. They contain more detailed priorities for development in your community, such as the provision of low-cost housing or the preservation of green space.
At the most local level, this reflects how residents of your area wish to see it develop over coming years. This optional document is more community-led and can reflect the needs of an individual town or village and surrounding countryside.
Creating a new park or renovating your village hall are among many great ways to improve your local area. Whether you are a community group seeking a new home, or a parish council creating new playing fields, understanding the planning process will increase the chances of your application gaining approval.
Preserve the unique visual character of your village and surrounding area by helping write a Village Design Statement.
Long-term planning for the future economic, social and environmental wellbeing of your area will be laid out in your council's Sustainable Communities Strategy.
The unique natural beauty of an area can be described in a Landscape Character Assessment, which is then used to inform local and neighbourhood plans.