Local Plans set out the strategic priorities for development of an area and cover housing, commercial, public and private development, including transport infrastructure, along with protection for the local environment. They comprise a series of documents that should set out clear guidance on what development will and won't be permitted in your area.
The Local Plan should plan positively for the development and infrastructure communities need, setting out the strategic priorities for the area in the Local Plan. This should include policies to deliver:
Local Plans should be aspirational but realistic. They should address the spatial and land use implications of economic, social and environmental change. Local Plans should set out the opportunities for development and clear guidance on what will or will not be permitted and where.
Under the 2004 Act local planning authorities were required to have a Local Development Framework. This is a collection of Development Plan Documents of which the Core Strategy is the central one. Other Development Plan Documents can include Site Allocations, Development Management Policies, and Area Action Plans (all of which are optional).
The Government has consolidated the plan preparation process through the Localism Act 2011. Local planning authorities are required to have a Local Plan. As with the old Local Development Frameworks, Local Plans may be made up of a number of different DPDs. However, local planning authorities need prepare only one plan, and they can decide what the Local Plan should contain. They can choose to prepare other DPDs but must have a good reason to do so.
Different local planning authorities may therefore have in place, or prepare, a range of plans:
the minimum time the local planning authority must consult on the final draft of its Local Plan
You can find out which plans your local planning authority wants to prepare, and when, in their Local Development Scheme, which you can find on the planning policy pages of their website. This should set out a programme for the preparation and review of the Local Plan. The timetables are a good starting point for planning your input to the Local Plan process.
If in doubt, speak to your local planning authority - your local plans team will be able to help
Local planning authorities must report on the progress that has been made in carrying out the development planned in the Local Plan in a monitoring report.
This provides useful information on how development is progressing, such as the number of affordable homes which have been built in the area over the last few years. This information should be available on the local planning authority's website, and forms part of the evidence base on which the Local Plan is prepared.