About Planning Policy & Housing Strategy
What it is, and how and why we are developing it
The Council have now completed work on the new Local Plan for Lancaster District which includes a Strategic Policies & Land Allocations Development Plan Document (DPD) and a reviewed Development Management DPD. The adoption of the Local Plan provides certainty over how our district will develop and grow over the coming years and identifies how development needs will be met. The Plan sets out how and where economic growth can be achieved and identifies where land and premises need to be protected, whether this is for its environment, economic or social value.
The Local Plan is critical to meeting local people’s aspirations, whether that be though the provision of new housing, the creation of new jobs or creating positive and healthy places for people to live, work and visit. It attempts to strike the balance between the need for development, regeneration and renewal and the protection of the natural and historic environment.
The world does not stand still. And the Local Plan needs to be flexible and adaptable to change over its lifetime and will be subject to constant monitoring and review. In response to the Council’s Climate Emergency Declaration, an immediate Review of the Local Plan will begin which will look at strengthening its approach towards the impacts of, and mitigation toward, Climate Change.
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.
Consultation and Engagement - Statement of Community Involvement (SCI)
Statement of Community Involvement (SCI)
The digital 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. Please note: temporary COVID-19 updates are highlighted in grey.
Detailed pre-application advice, in terms of the principles, process, service and the cost, can be found on our planning advice pages. The council’s pre-application advice service is subject to its own approval process. Keeping detailed pre-application advice separate from this SCI, allows the advice to be more readily updated.
Local Plan - What is the timetable? (Local Development Scheme)
Our digital Local Development Scheme (LDS), updated December 2022, sets out all the documents which form part of the Lancaster District Local Plan and a timetable for those documents which are currently under preparation.
Local Plan - Development Plan Documents in progress
Work is underway on the following Development Plan Documents
- Part One Strategic Policies and Land Allocations DPD and Part Two Development Management DPD - More details here
- Lancaster South Area Action Plan DPD (5) - More details here
View all adopted Development Plan Documents in the drop down box below.
Local Plan - Adopted Development Plan Documents (DPDs) & Neighbourhood Plans
The Lancaster District Local Plan (the Strategic Policies & Land Allocations DPD and reviewed Development Management DPD) were adopted by the Council on the 29th July 2020. Upon adoption these documents superseded the previous Local Plan which was formed of the residual elements of the 2004 Lancaster District Local Plan, 2008 Lancaster District Core Strategy and 2014 Development Management DPD, these three documents have now been formally withdrawn.
There are a number of other documents which have already been adopted by Council and supplement the Strategic Policies & Land Allocations DPD and reviewed Development Management DPD. These include the Arnside & Silverdale AONB DPD, Morecambe Area Action Plan DPD and the neighbourhood plans for Wennington and Wray-with-Botton. More details are found below:
|Document||Description and status|
Local Plan Part One: Strategic Policies and Land Allocations DPD
|Accompanied by a policies map that shows sites that will be developed or protected from development.
Adopted 29 July 2020.
Local Plan Part Two: Development Management DPD
|Provides the policies which are used to consider planning applications.
Adopted 29 July 2020.
Morecambe Area Action Plan DPD
|Describes actions to support regeneration in the central area of Morecambe.
Adopted December 2014.
Arnside and Silverdale AONB DPD
|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.
Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation DPD
|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. More details here
Lancaster South Area Action Plan
|Allocates land for the Lancaster South and Lancaster University growth and sets out how sustainable development is to be achieved.
Draft DPD in progress.
Minerals and Waste Local Plan
|Prepared by Lancashire County Council.
Core Strategy adopted 2009. Site Allocations & Development Management Policies adopted 2013..
Local Plan - Policies Map
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. Very limited runs of printed editions will be created largely for the purpose only to support consultation during Local Plan preparation.
Following the adoption of the Local Plan 29 July 2020, the council has updated the Policies Map which replaces the 2014 version:
- Policies Map_District Wide
- Policies Map_Insert 1_Main Urban Areas
- Policies Map_Insert 2, 3, 4 & 5 (Lancaster City Centre, Carnforth, Morecambe Town Centre and Junction 33)
- Policies Map_Rural Villages
- Policies Map_Sustainable Settlements
- View the Interactive Map
The Policies Maps bring together the allocations made within the Strategic Policies & Land Allocations DPD and the Central Morecambe Area Action Plan DPD. Any proposals within neighbourhood plan areas should refer directly to the Policies Maps associated with that document. More details on the Strategic Policies & Land Allocations Development Plan Document can be found here
Following the adoption of the the Arnside and Silverdale AONB Development Plan Document, 28 March 2019, the council has added a layer to the Policies Map:
- AONB Policies map
- View the Interactive Map here...
More details on the Arnside and Silverdale AONB Development Plan Document can be found here
Local Plan - Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs)
Details on DRAFT SPDs and consultation stages can be found here:
Supplementary Planning Documents (click here to view)
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. More details below
Canal Quarter Supplementary Planning Document
The document presents a vision for the area, supported by a set of design and development principles, to guide future investment over the next 15-20 years.
Employment and Skills SPD
This document supplements policy guidance provided in the Development Management DPD in relation to the application of Employment and Skills Plans within major new development. The purpose of Employment and Skills Plans is to encourage and support greater opportunities for training and upskilling of local people within the construction phases of new development.
Meeting Housing Need SPD
This document does not propose new policies, it explains how the policies in the Local Plan will be interpreted and provides guidance on the detail and criteria within policies. Not all policies are addressed in this SPD, as some aspects are self-explanatory and need no further guidance. The SPD must be read in conjunction with the specific housing policies and the relevant policies within the Local Plan as a whole. The SPD provides general guidance but is no substitute for site specific advice which can be obtained through the Councils pre-application advice procedure
Viability Protocol SPD
Policies in the Lancaster Local Plan require the provision of affordable housing and contributions to support infrastructure such as schools and open or recreational spaces. In some cases, developers seek to reduce the provision of affordable housing and contributions because they mean that development is not viable. The SPD sets out overarching principles for how the council will approach development viability, it provides guidance on the details that we will expect to be included in viability assessments and the councils approach to considering viability matters.
Residential Conversions and Houses in Multiple Occupation SPD
This document provides guidance about how policy DM13 of the Development Management Development Plan Documents will be implemented and standards for the houses in multiple occupation
Shopfront and Advertisements SPD
This document supplements policy guidance provided in the Development Management DPD in relation to shopfronts and advertisements. The purpose of the SPD is to provide design guidance on the installation of new shopfronts and advertisements within the district particularly in sensitive locations (for example within conservation areas).
Local Plan - Planning Advisory Notes (PANs) and Practice Notes (PNs)
Planning Advisory Notes & Practice Notes (click here to view)
Provide guidance to inform and guide applicants, developers and other interested parties in a range of planning matters. More details below
PAN 01 - Waste Storage and Collection Guidance for Domestic and Commercial Developments Planning Advice Note
The direction of this advisory note is based on the policies contained within the review of the Development Management DPD, adopted 29 July 2020, (Policy DM29) It will be a material consideration that developers should be conscious of that that will be generated from their development proposal and this note provides advice, guidance and information on how these issues can be appropriately addressed and management in both domestic and commercial development.
PAN02 - Encouraging the Growing of Food Within New Development Planning Advice Note
This note provides information and guidance on how new residential development can maximise the opportunities for the growing of food, making use of not just the areas around the property but through innovative design.
PAN03 - Surface Water Drainage and Flood Risk Management and Watercourses Planning Advice Note
This note provides information and guidance on the local application of both the sequential and exception tests in relation to flood risk and supplements national planning policy set out in the National Planning Policy Framework.
PAN04 - Open Space Provision in New Residential Development Planning Advisory Note
This PAN provides information and guidance on the expectations for open space from new residential development, this includes the provision of calculations for on-site areas of open space and off-site financial contributions. The PAN acts as an update to Appendix D of the Development Management Development Plan Document (DPD), to take account of the latest open space evidence base underpinning the emerging Local Plan for the Lancaster District.
PAN05 - Provision of Electric Charging Points for Vehicles in New Development Planning Advice Note
This note provides information and guidance to potential applicants and developers for the provision of electric charging points in domestic and commercial development. (Note: this guidance will be updated through the preparation of a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) during the course of 2020).
PAN06 - Application of the Flood Risk Sequential Test and Exception Test Planning Advice Note
The purpose of this Planning Advisory Note is to provide guidance over the implementation of Policy DM33 of the Development Management DPD, particularly in relation to the application of the sequential test in terms of flood risk.
PAN07 - Self-build and Custom-build Housing Planning Advice Note
This advisory note has been updated to reflect the changes to policies following the adoption of the Local Plan, which includes the SPLADPD and the DMDPD. It provides detail and further clarification on the self-build and custom housebuilding process, how the Council will support the delivery of plots and sources of further information and advice.
PAN08 - Cycling and Walking Planning Advice Note
The Cycling and Walking Planning Advice Note supports and provides guidance on policy T2 of the Strategic Policies & Land Allocation Development Plan Document and sets out how future development at strategic sites should support and develop the existing network. The approach taken in identifying routes follows that advocated by the National Planning Policy Framework. The Planning Advice Note has been subject to public and stakeholder consultation.
PAN09 - Energy Efficiency in New Development Planning Advice Note
Lancaster City Council declared a climate change emergency in January 2019 and set a target date of 2030 to make the Council’s activities net-zero carbon. The Council intends to lead by example in seeking to reduce carbon emissions in the District. The Council’s activities only contribute approximately 0.4% of the districts carbon emissions. It is therefore important that developers, residents and businesses also play their part. This note provides guidance on how measures to reduce carbon emissions can be incorporated into new and existing homes and businesses. It also provides guidance on completing the Energy Statement required to be submitted with major development and how smaller developments can show how they aim to contribute to reducing carbon emissions.
PAN10 - Housing Standards Planning Advice Note
The Council has adopted the Nationally Described Space Standards (NDSS) and the optional Building Regulation Requirement M4(2): Category 2 - Accessible and Adaptable Dwellings, through policy DM2 of the Development Management Development Plan Document (DMDPD). It is therefore important developers, agents and applicants ensure new dwellings are designed to meet the standard prior to submission of an application. The Council has produced a Housing Standards Planning Advice Note which sets out how the standards will be applied.
PAN11 - Low Emissions and Air Quality Planning Advice Note
This note provides information and guidance on how new development is expected to mitigate impacts to air quality in designated Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs). Its sets out guidance on the range of mitigation measures available. (Note: this guidance will be updated through the preparation of a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) during the course of 2020)
PAN12 - Householder Design Guide Planning Advice Note
This note provides general information and guidance on the design of new residential development and can be applicable to all scales of development proposed, from small extensions to new build properties.
PN01 - Affordable Housing Practice Note
The adopted Meeting Housing Need Supplementary Planning Document (9 Febraury 2022) supersedes the PN01 - Affordable Housing Practice Note and has now been removed from this page.
PN02 - Preparation of Comprehensive Masterplans for Strategic Residential Sites Procedural Practice Note
This Procedural Practice Note (PPN) provides guidance on the preparation of comprehensive masterplans for strategic residential-led development sites as identified in the Strategic Policies and Land Allocations DPD and for a number of smaller sites.
PN03 – Arnside and Silverdale AONB Small Housing Sites
The purpose of this Practice Note is to provide guidance and clarification to landowners and developers on the Council’s planning policy position in relation to small housing proposals within the Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Local Plan - Evidence base
An evidence base is being prepared which will inform the Review of the Lancaster District Local Plan. This is a 'live' document as we continue to update the evidence.
Local Plan - What is a 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. 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.
Local Plan - Duty to co-operate
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.
- Duty to co-operate (PDF) - Strategic Policies and Land Allocation DPD, Development Management DPD (May 2018)
- View duty to co-operate - Arnside and Silverdale AONB DPD (in conjunction with South Lakeland District Council)
Local Plan - Frequently asked questions
Below the Council have answered a series of frequently asked questions in relation to the Local Plan, in terms of both how it has been prepared and what will happen next. If you have any queries about the below then please do not hesitate to contact the Planning and Housing Policy Team on 01524 582383 or email@example.com.
What is a Local Plan?
There is a statutory responsible on every local planning authority (i.e. Lancaster City Council) to prepare a Local Plan which will guide development over a 15 to 20 year period. The aim of the local plan is to ensure that future development needs can be met, providing certainty to both local communities and other key stakeholders. The Plan is not merely about providing certainty over development, many of the designations made within it seek to protect important areas from harm, for example sites which have environmental, economic and social value.
Without a Local Plan development could occur anywhere, there would be no management of land-use, the quality of development would not be managed and the implications of development would never be considered.
What does the Local Plan include?
The Local Plan can be one single document or can be made up of a range of different documents which tackle different issues. In the case of Lancaster, the City Council has prepared a suite of documents that forms the Local Plan for Lancaster District.
The Council have previously adopted area-specific plans for both Central Morecambe (2014) and the Arnside & Silverdale AONB (2019). The Local Plan for Lancaster is comprised of the Strategic Policies & Land Allocations Development Plan Document (DPD) and a reviewed Development Management DPD, and was formally adopted on 29th July 2020.
What are the implications of not having a Local Plan in place?
Having a Local Plan in place enables the authority to plan development in a proactive manner, ensuring that the needs of current and future generations are met in a sustainable and appropriate way. This includes making sure that the development proposed meets the needs of the district and that critical elements of new development, such as new infrastructure come forward in the right place and at the right time.
This approach is much better than the reactionary one which is taken to planning applications which would have to be determined in the absence of a robust and up-to-date Local Plan. In such a case any development would be assessed against national planning requirement which do not allow for consideration of local characteristics and issues. The consequences could be that development needs are not properly met or that needs are met in a unsustainable manner via inappropriate development.
What is the Strategic Policies & Land Allocations DPD?
The Strategic Policies & Land Allocations DPD is the basis of the whole Local Plan; it sets out a series of strategic policies that will form basis for plan making, land allocation and decision making over the coming years. It also sets targets and requirements for development and allocations land to meet those development needs. It also identifies land which is worthy of protection for its environmental, economic or social value.
What is the Development Management DPD?
The Development Management DPD sets out generic planning policies for a range of planning topic areas. The policies contained in this DPD are applicable to all types of development all across the district (unless area specific DPDs such as the Central Morecambe or Arnside & Silverdale AONB dictate otherwise). The DPD is used by Council Officers and Members to determine planning applications.
How has the Local Plan been prepared?
Local Plan documents undergo significant scrutiny and examination before they are ready to be adopted for planning purposes. Work on the Strategic Policies & Land Allocation DPD and the reviewed Development Management DPD began in 2014 and have involved a number of public consultations and a public examination. The content of the DPDs (i.e. policies and allocations) must be supported by evidence that can justify their inclusion within the Plan.
What does ‘Adoption’ Mean?
The final stage of the preparation process is for the Council to adopt the Local Plan for planning purposes. This involves a decision at Full Council which all Members can take part in. The Local Plan (and the decision over adoption) was debated on 29 July 2020 where it was resolved to adopt the Local Plan for planning purposes. The Council formally adopted the Plan on 29 July.
Following the decision to adopt the plan, there is an 8 week period where people who feel aggrieved by the Council’s decision to adopt the plan to appeal to the High Court. More details on this process can be found on the Council’s Adoption process.
How long will the Local Plan last for?
A Local Plan should typically last for a period of between 15 - 20 years and in allocating land to development, it should seek to ensure that sufficient land is identified to meet the needs of such a period.
However, there are likely to be circumstances that mean that the Local Plan will need to be reviewed sooner than those described. These circumstances could be national (i.e. the publication of new national planning policy, economic recession etc) or could be more local (i.e. loss of large employers, changing political administration, changes in land-ownerships etc). In such circumstances, this may render key aspects of the Local Plan out of date and instigate the need to consider a review. The council is in fact undertaking a review of the Local Plan in the context of climate change issues.. More on this is set out below.
What other planning documents are the Council working on?
The Strategic Policies & Land Allocations DPD and the reviewed Development Management DPD represent the core elements of the Local Plan. Following their adoption the Council is working on a number of area-specific DPDs and Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs) to support implementation.
The Council is currently working on a Lancaster South Area Action Plan DPD (to assist facilitating growth in South Lancaster) and a Canal Quarter Supplementary Planning Document (to assist regeneration in Central Lancaster). Further documentation may also be considered over time. The Council prepare a Local Development Scheme which provides a timetable for Local Plan work and highlights the documents which the Council intend to work on. This is available on our website.
Is the Council going to be Reviewing the Local Plan?
Yes. As set out, following a change in administration in May 2019 the Council decided that more should be done to implement the action of the Climate Emergency that was declared in January 2019. These decisions came too late to influence the content and direction of this Local Plan that was submitted to the Government for Public Examination in May 2019.
Members have indicated that they wish to see an immediate Review of the plan to better take account of Climate Change.
What will the scope of the Local Plan review be?
The scope of the Local Plan Review will be limited. The review will focus specifically on matters around Climate Change only. This means that the Council will not be reviewing the allocations made in the Local Plan through this process nor will they be reviewing the development requirements set within the Plan (i.e. there will be no review of the housing requirement targets).
The expectation of keeping tightly defined boundaries is that the Review can take place quickly and an updated plan can be produced which can start to address adaption / mitigation to Climate Change as soon as possible. Opening the Review to a wide range of topics, some of which are highly controversial, will simply slow the process down and mean it will take a lot longer for the Local Plan to be updated in the context of Climate Change.
Can I get involved in the Local Plan Review?
Yes. The Local Plan Review must follow the same stages of preparation that the original plan took, that will mean the Council will be seeking to engage with the community and key stakeholders throughout the preparation process. Ultimately, the plan will also go through the same process of public examination by an independent planning inspector.
When will the Local Plan Review be Complete?
As set out in the current Local Development Scheme it is anticipated that the review of the Local Plan will be complete by Summer 2022.
How do I read the Local Plan?
The Local Plan is available to read on the Council’s website along with all the supporting documentation and evidence base. Hard copies of the Local Plan can be made available on request at the Planning Offices by contacting us on 01524 582383 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where do I go if I have any further questions?
For further information and advice on the adopted Local Plan or the Local Plan review and the wider planning processes, please contact
- By email at email@example.com
- By telephone on 01524 582383
- By post to: Planning and Housing Policy Team, Lancaster City Council, Lancaster Town Hall, PO Box 4, Dalton Square, Lancaster, LA1 1QR.
Lancaster district has over 1,300 listed buildings, 38 conservation areas and 38 scheduled monuments. Lancaster City Council has a responsibility for the identification, protection and enhancement of these assets. View the Conservation webpages for more details.
Our Homes Strategy sets out how we can support those in housing need over the next five years. View the Housing Strategy webpage for more details.
Houses In Multiple Occupation and Control of ‘To Let’ Signs
Policy DM13 of the adopted Lancaster Local Plan Development Management DPD, seeks to restrict the concentration of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) to a maximum of 10% in any 100m radius. The policy will manage the concentration of all new HMOs, including new build HMOs, the conversion of non-residential properties to HMOs and the change of use of dwellings (Class C3) to HMOs. To help applicants and agent understand how the policy will be implemented Lancaster City Council has adopted a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD). This document explains how the policy will be implemented, the calculation used to determine the number of HMOs and includes standards for new HMOs
HMO Density Map by Post Code
The Council has produced a data base of HMOs using Student Council Tax Exemptions and Licensing information which will be used to calculate the density of HMOs. As much of the data is derived from Council Tax data, for data protection reasons, individual HMOs will not be identified on the website. To help agents and applicants assess the density in an area, a map showing the density by post code is available. While this will not show the density for a particular 100m radius it will provide a guide to the density in particular areas. The HMO Density Map by Postcode can viewed here. If you intend to submit a planning application and wish to know the percentage of HMOs in the 100m radius around a specific property, please use the Pre-Application Service here.
A licence is required for HMOs where both of the following apply:
- At least five tenants live there, forming more than one household
- Toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities are shared with other tenant
Further information can be found here. A licence is a separate regime to planning permission. Both planning permission and a licence is required for properties which meet the above criteria. Planning permission is required for HMOs with 3 or more tenants.
Article 4 to Control Small HMOs
The Article 4 Direction came into force on 10th November 2021. Planning permission is now required to change the use of a dwellinghouse (Class C3) to a small HMO (Class C4) (3-6 occupants). Larger HMOs and the conversion of other buildings to HMOs already require planning permission. More details here.
If you would like advice on whether you are likely to receive planning permission please use our pre-application service. Further information can be found here.
Control of ‘To Let’ Signs
The Secretary of State has approved Lancaster City Councils proposal for a Regulation 7: Direction Restricting Deemed Consent to control the display of ‘To Let’ Signs in Lancaster. The controls will come into force on 1 September 2021. This means that from 1 September 2021, ‘To Let’ signs cannot be displayed on residential properties in the wards of Bulk, Castle, John O’Gaunt, Marsh, Scotforth East and Scotforth West. More details here..
Community Rights to Bid, Challenge and Build
View more about Community Rights to Bid, Challenge and Build here...
Self-build and custom-build homes
Self-build or custom-build is simply the process of designing, planning and building your own home. There are several routes to building your own home and the level of involvement you have can vary greatly depending which way you choose. Some people wish to manage the design and construction process and do the building and labouring work themselves while others commission a contractor to do it for them. Projects range from individual homes on single plots to group projects on larger sites. More details here....
Gypsy and traveller accommodation
We value our district wide tree cover and recognise the immense potential for human and environmental benefits associated with a healthy and sustainable tree population. View the Tree webpages for more details.
Interative Map(s) all in one place!
More details here...
Phone: 01524 582383