Planning policy

Planning Policy is the method by which the development of land and buildings is planned for, managed and controlled.

This is done through the creation of planning policies which are designed to guide future development in the district, including how much development there should be and where it should go, and to aid the determination of planning applications.

Policies continually evolve with changing administrations, lifestyles, environments and economic demands. It is the role of the Planning Policy team to develop, maintain, update and adapt policies on a local level to accommodate these changes.

How is the Government involved in planning policy?

Whilst central government (e.g. through the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities) has overall responsibility for national planning policy, local planning decisions are made by local planning authorities using local development plan documents (such as the Local Plan).

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out the Government’s planning policies for England and how these are expected to be applied. The NPPF is a material consideration when taking decisions on planning applications, especially where the Local Plan is absent, silent or relevant policies are out of date.

The NPPF, together with the Planning Practice Guidance (PPG), set out what the Government expects of local authorities. The overall aim is to ensure the planning system allows land to be used for new homes and jobs, while protecting valuable natural and historic environments.

The PPG adds further context to the NPPF and it is intended that the two documents should be read together.

Plan makers (mainly Local Authorities who are responsible for a Local Plan but also community groups who may be working on a neighbourhood plan) must have regard to national policies and advice contained in the guidance when developing their plans. Therefore, local and neighbourhood plans may reflect what the guidance says about certain topics.

The guidance is also a ‘material consideration’ when taking decisions on planning applications. This means that if a local policy is deemed out of date, local authorities may be directed by the national guidance’s requirements.