About the Local Plan

St George's Quay, Lancaster

St George's Quay, Lancaster

About the Local Plan Update (LPU)

Work is underway on an updated local plan which will shape the future of the Lancaster District.  This updated local plan will guide development in the Lancaster District for the next 15 years. We know we have to plan for more housing. We also need to plan for the new employment, open spaces, shops and community facilities necessary to create places people want to live, work and do business.

One of the key reasons for needing the Local Plan Update is that the Government has changed the way that we plan for development, particularly for new housing. It is the responsibility of individual local authorities to assess how much development is needed in its area and how much should be provided.

What have we done so far?

We have made good progress on preparing the six Development Plan Documents (DPDs) which will form the new Local Plan and will continue to work on key parts, including Part One: Strategic Policies & Land Allocations DPD & Part Two: Review of the Development Management and the Arnside & Silverdale AONB DPD.  More details can be found below.

What’s the timetable?

At Full Council on Wednesday 20th December 2017 the Strategic Policies & Land Allocations DPD and the Review of the Development Management DPD were approved for Publication and Submission to the Government via the Secretary of State.  Following this decision the Council formally published the two DPDs for an 8 week period from 9 February 2018, to 5pm 6 April 2018, inviting representations on its soundness and legal compliance, before submitting the documents in May 2018. 

On Wednesday 28 February 2018, jointly with South Lakeland District Council, we submitted the Arnside & Silverdale AONB DPD to the Secretary of State (Planning Inspectorate) for Examination. The Notice of Examination Hearings, Latest News and Submission and Examination documents can be found here

Upon their completion these DPDs will form the core element of the new Local Plan for Lancaster District setting out a strategic direction for growth, allocation of land to meet development needs and a series of generic planning policies to manage new development through the decision-making process.

Our Local Development Scheme (PDF, 1005KB) sets out  the timetable for preparing all the documents to be included in the Local Plan.

Get involved

We will be undertaking a number of formal consultations throughout the Local Plan Update.  If you would like to stay up to date with these you can be added to our consultation database base.  Join our Mailing List... Our Statement of Community Involvement sets out our approach to engaging the community in planning decisions.

Local Plan Documents
Development Plan Documents (DPD's)

These documents will form the new Local Plan and replace the current policies in the

Supplementary Planning Documents (SPD's)
  • Supplementary Planning Document (SPDs) and Development Briefs will provide further guidance on specific sites or complex issues and are linked to specific local plan policies. SPDs are a material consideration in planning decisions but have less weight than the local plan policies.
  • Planning Advisory Notes provide guidance notes which seek to inform and guide applicants, developers and other interested parties in a range of planning matters.

Policies Map
  • Local Plan Interactive Web Map reflects the current spatial policy position in Lancaster district, showing saved polices from the Local Plan strikethrough edition 2008, and adopted policies from the Core Strategy (2003-21) adopted 2008, Development Management DPD (2011-31) adopted 2014 and the Morecambe Area Action Plan (2011-31) adopted 2014.


We are continuing to update the evidence that informs the preparation of the local plan.  View all the evidence completed so far......

Sustainability Appraisal and Appropriate Assessment

A Sustainability Appraisal is undertaken for every Development Plan Document. Sustainability Appraisals help to ensure that the social, economic and environmental effects of policies and plans are understood and fully taken into consideration.  Appropriate Assessment establishes whether proposals within the plan are likely to have significant effects on any sites of international biodiversity importance.

Duty to co-operate

Prior to the submission of the local development plan to the Secretary of State, the council will prepare a ‘Duty-to-Co-operate Statement of Compliance’ which will set out how the authority have discussed cross-boundary matters with their neighbours.  More details......

Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)

CIL is a charge which local authorities in England and Wales can place on developer / applicants for most types of development in their area.  More details....

Latest news

  Strategic Policy Guide Update (PDF, 620KB) (January 2017)

Strategic Guide to Planning Policy in Lancaster District (PDF, 609KB) (December 2014)

Latest Newsletter - June 2016 (PDF, 2.1MB) Latest Newsletter - August 2015 (PDF, 4.4MB) Latest Newsletter - May 2014 (PDF, 1.2MB)

How does the council know what it needs to plan for? 

The council must follow the advice on planning given by the government. This says that we should positively seek opportunities to meet the development needs of their area.  We will continuously gathers information and also monitor the development that takes place in order to identify the development needs of the area.  One of the main things that a Local Plan has to do is to make sure that there are enough homes to meet the needs of a growing population. The council prepares a housing requirements study that establishes how many new homes are needed in the district for at least 15 years after the date that the plan will be completed.  We then calculate how many new homes can be built on sites that already have planning permission and then uses the local plan to identify enough new sites, in addition to those that we already know about, to satisfy the total requirement for new housing. Much the same happens with land for employment, shopping and recreation. 

Who approves the local plan documents?

Preparing the Local Plan is the responsibility of the city council. Local Plan documents take a number of years to prepare. During preparation the council’s officers engage with the community and consult on the emerging plan. Whilst it is your council’s responsibility to prepare the Local Plan there is also independent examination. When the council is content that a plan document is complete it publishes the document and anyone can then comment on the soundness of the published plan.  The council then sends the published plan document, the supporting evidence and all the comments and representations it has received to the Planning Inspectorate, who appoint an inspector to carry out an independent examination. This involves local hearing sessions when the inspector invites some of the people who have made representations to a discussion session. After these hearing sessions the inspector sends a report to the council stating whether or not the plan has been properly prepared.  If the inspector is happy that the plan is sound then the council can adopt the plan, usually with some changes that he has recommended. If the inspector does not think that a plan document has been properly prepared then the council will have to prepare a revised plan and try again.


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Last updated: 05 June 2018