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.
Development Plan Documents (DPDs) are planning policy documents which make up the Local Plan. They help to guide development within a local planning authority area by setting out the detailed planning policies, which planning officers use to make their decisions on planning applications. DPDs were introduced as part of the reforms made to the planning system through the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. The Localism Act 2011 and the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012 provide the most up-to-date legislation in relation to Local Plans and DPDs.
Our Local Development Scheme (LDS) (PDF, 1MB) sets out the timetable for preparing all the documents to be included in the Local Plan.
What have we done so far
The Lancaster District Local Plan was adopted on 16 April 2004. Lancaster City Council’s Core Strategy (PDF, 2.7MB) was adopted in July 2008, replacing many of the policies in the Local Plan. Following this a 'strike through edition of the Local Plan' (PDF, 2.9MB) was published in September 2008. It shows the policies that have been fully or partially replaced by the Core Strategy.
In December 2014 the Development Management DPD and the Morecambe Area Action Plan DPD were adopted. More information can be found below. Also view the Strategic Policy Positon following Adoption (PDF, 609KB).
Lancaster City Council resolved to adopt the Arnside and Silverdale AONB DPD at a meeting on 13 March 2019 and the DPD also forms part of the Lancaster City Council Development Plan. South Lakeland District Council resolved to adopt the AONB DPD at a meeting on 28 March 2019. It therefore came into effect from that date and forms part of the South Lakeland District Council Development Plan.
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. More details can be found on the EXAMINATION webpage.
|Accompanied by a policies map that shows sites that will be developed or protected from development. Draft DPD submitted to Secretary of State for Examination.|
|Provides the policies which are used to consider planning applications. Adopted December 2014.|
|Describes actions to support regeneration in the central area of Morecambe. Adopted December 2014.|
|Allocates land for development and provides additional policies that additional policies that are relevant to this particular area of high landscape value. Adopted 28 March 2019.|
|Policies that consider in detail how to meet the needs for Gypsies and Travellers sites. The accommodation needs of Travelling Show People will also have to be addressed. In progress|
|Allocates land for the Lancaster South and Lancaster University growth and sets out how sustainable development is to be achieved. Draft DPD in proress|
|Prepared by Lancashire County Council. Adopted March 2009.|
The Policies Map comprises all of the site allocations and designations set out in adopted development plan documents. As new Local Plan documents are adopted their policies will be added to the Policies Map whilst policies that are superseded or have been implemented will be deleted. The Council intends to maintain the Policies Map as a live and refreshable document on its Website. Very limited runs of printed editions will be created largely for the purpose only to support consultation during Local Plan preparation.
The current Policies Map (2014) shows allocations and designations made by the 2004 Local Plan, the 2008 Core Strategy, the 2014 Development Management DPD and 2014 Morecambe Area Action Plan DPD. As the local plans are adopted, the new allocations and designations will be added and superseded ones deleted. Following the adoption of the 2019 Arnside & Silverdale AONB DPD, the Policies Map is in the process to being updated to include the adopted AONB designations. In the meantime you can view the Arnside & Silverdale AONB allocations and designations: AONB Policies Map
A draft Strategic Policies and Land Allocations Policies Map has been submitted to the Secretary of State 15 May 2018. For more details on the Local Plan view the here
Supplementary Planning Documents 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. View documents here
Planning Advisory Notes provide guidance notes which seek to inform and guide applicants, developers and other interested parties in a range of planning matters. View documents here
We are continuing to update the evidence that informs the preparation of the local plan. View documents here
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. A Sustainability Appraisal report will company each published stage of a Development Plan Document, including the final Submission version, so that people can view and comment on the findings of the Sustainability Appraisal.
Appropriate Assessment establishes whether proposals within the plan are likely to have significant effects on any sites of international biodiversity importance. Firstly, a screening process is carried out under the Habitats Regulations. The screening will identify whether it is considered likely that there will be any significant effects. When the screening cannot say with certainty that there will be no significant effects, an Appropriate Assessment will look at the likely effects and how they can be avoided. If they cannot be avoided, the plan or policy that would cause the harmful effects will not be allowed to come into force, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
These assessments will accompany the relevant plan at the consultation and publication stages.
Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is a charge which local authorities in England and Wales can place on developer / applicants for most types of development in their area. The money generated from CIL can be used (or pooled for future use) to pay for strategic infrastructure improvements within the authority area to realise social, economic or environmental benefits. The CIL charge will be based on the size, type and location of the development proposed.
We are about to review the position on the implications of introducing a CIL charge within the district with the findings expected in 2019, date to be confirmed. Should the study conclude that there is sufficient viability to introduce a charge within the district then the Council will prepare a Charging Schedule.
The introduction of the Localism Act in 2011 placed the responsibility of ‘duty to co-operate’ on local authorities, where planning issues cross administrative boundaries they must jointly address areas of common interest. Lancaster City Council is continuing to work closely with neighbouring authorities, Lancashire County Council and other bodies, such as utility providers, to help prepare a draft Local Plan which ensures that any local or cross-boundary impacts have been fully considered.
As far as possible the draft Local Plan reflects a collective vision and a set of agreed priorities for the sustainable development of the area, including those contained in any plans that have been made in neighbouring authorities. Prior to the submission of a 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 has discussed cross-boundary matters with their neighbours.
The Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) sets out how and when we will engage with the community and other key stakeholders when we prepare and revise Local Plan documents. It also explains how the community will be consulted on planning applications. This SCI provides a summary of how the Council will provide pre-planning application advice.
You can view current planning policy consultations here
Detailed pre-application advice, in terms of the principles, process, service and the cost, will be given in a separate Council document, found on the council website, http://www.lancaster.gov.uk/planning. The Council’s pre-application advice is subject to its own approval process. Keeping detailed pre-application advice separate from this SCI, allows the advice to be more readily updated.
Details of our Local Plan consultations and how you can have your say can be found here
WHY DO WE NEED A LOCAL PLAN?
There is a legal requirement for all local planning authorities in England (including Lancaster City Council) to prepare a Local Plan for their area which sets out a clear planning approach to how future development needs will be met and how future development proposals will be managed and assessed. The preparation of a Local Plan must seek to meet the requirements of national planning policy, as prepared by the Government, contained within the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
The Local Plan will seek to meet evidenced needs for housing and employment growth by giving direction and certainty, both to developers and also the wider public and the scale and direction of growth. Without a Local Plan development could occur anywhere within the district, regardless of its impact on local amenity and infrastructure and regardless of whether it represents sustainable development.
The City Council are currently in the process of preparing a new Local Plan for the district which will address development needs for the 2011 – 2031 period.
Whilst the Local Plan seeks to provide direction on the scale and direction of new development, it also serves a critical role in ensuring that land is protected from inappropriate development, particularly in areas which are of environmental, social or economic importance.
WHAT COMPRISES THE NEW LOCAL PLAN FOR LANCASTER DISTRICT?
The Lancaster District Local Plan 2011 – 2031 will provide local planning guidance for Lancaster district and will comprise the following key documents:
- Strategic Policies and Land Allocations DPD;
- Development Management DPD;
- Arnside and Silverdale AONB DPD;
- Morecambe Area Action Plan DPD (already adopted in 2014); and
- Lancaster South Area Action Plan DPD (subject to formal approval).
These documents, upon their completion, will replace the policies and guidance found within the remaining policies of the 2004 Lancaster District Local Plan, the 2008 Lancaster District Core Strategy and the 2014 Development Management DPD. Upon the adoption of all five elements, it is the Council’s intention to withdraw the remaining elements of the 2004 Local Plan, 2008 Core Strategy and 2014 Development Management DPD. However, until such a point is reached these documents will remain the strategic basis of planning decisions within the district and will be given due weight in the plan-making and decision-taking process.
Further to these DPDs, further guidance may be provided in the form of other supplementary planning guidance or masterplans (on a site-specific basis) which will, where necessary and appropriate to do so, provide further guidance on planning topics or development proposals for a specific area / site in the district.
WHAT WILL THE NEW LOCAL PLAN SUPERSEDE?
Upon its completion (or what is termed ‘adoption’), the Local Plan documents described above will formally replace the content of the Lancaster District Core Strategy (adopted by the Council in 2008), the 2014 Development Management DPD and the remaining residual policies of the 2004 Lancaster District Local Plan.
WHAT IS THE STRATEGIC POLICIES & LAND ALLOCATIONS DPD AND WHAT WILL IT SEEK TO ACHIEVE?
The Strategic Policies and Land Allocations DPD will seek to provide strategic direction on the scale and location of new development. The DPD will set out a series of allocations which will identify how future development needs will be met, particularly in relation to how housing need and economic growth will be delivered. This will be in accordance with a Development Strategy which seeks an urban-focused approach through the regeneration of brownfield sites and the delivery of a series of strategic greenfield sites. The allocation of land provides certainty to developers and the local community over where development will occur through the plan period.
The Strategic Policies and Land Allocations DPD will seek to ensure that development needs are met and sustainable patterns of development can be achieved. The DPD will also seek to identify a range of important environmental, social and economic assets which should be protected from inappropriate development. Upon adoption the policies and allocations within the Strategic Policies and Land Allocations DPD will replace the policies within the Lancaster District Core Strategy (2008) and the residual allocations made in the 2004 Lancaster District Local Plan.
WHAT IS THE DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT DPD AND WHAT WILL IT SEEK TO ACHIEVE?
The Development Management DPD will seek to update the content of the original DPD adopted by the Council in December 2014. The DPD will set out a series of general planning policies on a range of planning matters whether they are environmental, social or economic, which will be used by applicants, the Council’s Development Management Team and Planning Committee to determine planning applications. The DPD will be applicable to any location in the district and any type of development proposed (unless other policies in the Local Plan indicate otherwise).
The Development Management DPD will seek to ensure that sustainable development is achieved and suitable assessment is made over the potential impact and benefits of development proposals. Upon adoption the policies within the Development Management DPD will replace the policies within the existing DPD adopted in 2014.
WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS OF NOT HAVING A LOCAL PLAN IN PLACE?
Having a Local Plan in place enables the authority to plan development proactively, ensuring that the needs of current and future generations are met in a sustainable and appropriate manner. This includes making sure that the development proposed meets the needs of the district and makes sure that critical elements of new development, such as new infrastructure, come forward in the right place at the right time.
This approach is much more beneficial than the reactionary one which is taken to planning applications which must be determined in the absence of a robust and up-to-date plan. In such cases development must be assessed against national planning requirements which do not allow for consideration of local characteristics and issues.
The consequences of not addressing such issues would result in development needs not being met or, more likely, needs being met in an unsustainable manner via inappropriate development.
WHAT STAGE OF THE LOCAL PLAN PREPARATION PROCESS ARE WE AT?
The Council have undertaken a number of informal consultation exercises since 2014 which have informed the preparation of the Strategic Policies & Land Allocations DPD and the Development Management DPD. This has included consultation on Strategic Options in 2014, the People Homes and Jobs Consultation of 2015 and the most recent consultation on the Draft DPDs in early 2017. Consultation on the preparation of the development plan has been extensive. Further information on the stages of consultation can be found within the Council’s ‘Consultation Statement’ which is available to download from the Council website.
This stage of the plan-making process is called Publication and represents the only formal stage of consultation which is legally required to be undertaken by the Council. This also represents the final stage of consultation and the current version of both DPDs, in the opinion of the Council, represents a completed set of documents which clearly set out the Council’s approach to determining planning applications which is in accordance with national planning guidance and meets all relevant legal requirements.
Therefore, whilst there will be a formal period of consultation in order to make representations on the Strategic Policies and Land Allocations DPD and Development Management DPD, the Council will not be seeking to make any further changes to these documents. Following this consultation period the Council will be submitting the documents, along with all supporting evidence (as shown in the Document Library on the Council website) and all the representations received, to the Planning Inspectorate to commence the period of Public Examination.
WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO PREVIOUS COMMENTS MADE ON THE LOCAL PLAN DOCUMENTS?
The comments which have been made through previous rounds of informal consultation (including comments made on the 2015 People Homes and Jobs Consultation and the 2017 Draft Local Plan) have been reviewed, analysed and, where appropriate, incorporated into the Local Plan documents. Not all comments which have been submitted within previous rounds of consultation will have been considered appropriate for inclusion within the Publication version of the DPDs as it is felt that the changes requested or the issues raised are not justified, appropriate or in conformity with national policy or local circumstances. The Council prepared Consultation Reports in 2014, 2015 and 2017 where all comments received were summarised and an Officer response provided.
HOW WILL NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN AREAS BE ADDRESSED IN THE LOCAL PLAN?
There are a number of Neighbourhood Plan groups who are currently active in preparing Neighbourhood Plans within the district. These active groups include; Wray-with-Botton, Wennington, Caton-with-Littledale, Cockerham, Halton-with-Aughton, Slyne-with-Hest, Morecambe, Dolphinholme and Arkholme-with-Cawood and Carnforth.
In relation to development allocations, particularly housing allocations, the draft Local Plan prepared in 2017 did not include any allocations within these areas. This approach will continue into the Publication / Submission Versions of the Local Plan with no allocations proposed in these areas.
However, the Council are duty bound to consider and investigate the opportunities to meet development needs across the district and cannot avoid these matters when the Local Plan reaches Public Examination. As a result the Council will be assessing all potential development sites in the district (including within Neighbourhood Plan areas) via the Strategic Housing and Employment Land Availability Assessment (SHELAA) process. This will provide an evidence base approach for assessing the suitability of all sites.
At the point of Public Examination, should groups not be at a sufficiently advanced stage of Neighbourhood Plan preparation (i.e. Referendum) then it is highly likely that the matters of housing delivery will have to be addressed through the Local Plan process making use of the SHELAA to inform discussions at Examination.
CAN I TAKE PART IN THE PUBLIC EXAMINATION INTO THE LOCAL PLAN?
The Public Examination will involve a series of formal hearing sessions which will be chaired by an independently appointed Planning Inspector. It is here where individuals who have made representations at the Publication Stage will be invited to verbally contribute to the discussion and debate on the soundness and legal compliance of the two DPDs and present their representation(s) and evidence to the Inspector.
It is important to note that it will be the Inspector who will decide on who is invited to speak at the Examination, not the City Council, and it is the Inspector who will decide on the topics which are to be covered at each individual hearing session. It is also important to note that the Inspector will not necessarily wish for all representations to be heard verbally at the Public Examination. It is likely that the majority of representations will be considered through written representations submitted at the Publication Stage, which will carry equal weight to those heard in person by the Planning Inspector.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE PUBLIC EXAMINATION?
Following the conclusion of the Public Examination the Planning Inspector will prepare a report which sets out their recommendations over whether the DPDs are sound and legally compliant. This report may also provide recommendations over whether changes are required to the DPDs to make them sound or legally compliant.
The Inspectors Report will be binding on the Council. Upon receipt of the Inspectors Report the Council will have the opportunity to amend the document accordingly and then formally adopted the Strategic Policies & Land Allocations DPD and the Development Management DPD for planning purposes.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE LOCAL PLAN ONCE IT’S COMPLETED AND ADOPTED?
Once adopted, the Local Plan and the documents which make up the Local Plan, will provide a strategic planning framework for the district to guide new development and planning applications.
The Local Plan is due to provide such a framework until 2031, however the Council will continue to monitor and review the content of the plan, with regular evidence updates to ensure that it is effectively delivering national planning policy which meets development needs and delivers sustainable development.
For further information and advice on the Strategic Policies and Land Allocations DPD or the Development Management DPD, the Publication Stage and the wider planning processes, please do not hesitate to contact the Planning and Housing Policy Team via the following methods:
- By email at email@example.com
- By telephone at: 01524 582383
- By post at: Planning and Housing Policy Team, Lancaster City Council, Lancaster Town Hall, PO Box 4, Dalton Square, Lancaster, LA1 1QR.
Last updated: 26 September 2019