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Local Plan, Planning Library & Strategies

What it is, and how and why we are developing it

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. 

The Council has prepared a suite of Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs) to support and further explain the council’s aims for some of the planning policies in the adopted Local Plan. SPDs do not create new policy but do provide detail on policy interpretation which can help potential applicants preparing to submit planning proposals.  SPDs are prepared in accordance with national regulations. The regulations require the council to involve people in shaping SPDs including through public consultation. The weight given to an SPD in making planning decisions.

The Council has prepared a suite of Planning Advisory Notes (PANs) which provide guidance on a range of planning topics. PANs provide guidance on procedure or design advice rather than policy interpretation, which is the role of Supplementary Planning Documents. PANs provide advice to potential applicants about the type of information needed to support planning applications, or provide explanation of the Council’s approach to assessing issues. PANs are not prepared in accordance with national legislation and are generally not subject to public consultation. They are not formal parts of the council’s Local Plan. They do not have “planning weight” in decision making. Applicants are advised to use the helpful guidance in PANs to help shape and inform their proposals but the PANs are not used to make decisions on planning applications.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 (July 2020) provides certainty over how our district will develop and grow over the coming years and identifies how development needs will be met. The Plan (DPDs) 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.

Upon the adoption of the Plan, the City Council chose to embark on a Climate Emergency Partial Review of the Local Plan to strengthen its approach towards adopting to, and mitigating against the impacts of Climate Change following the declaration of a Climate Emergency in January 2019. Work on the partial review is now at an advance stage with its adoption expected early in 2024.

A new Local Plan for Lancaster District

The world does not stand still. We have published our new digital hub for the full review of the Local Plan. We hope that our new digital approach and the information will help everyone to understand the local plan process.   We have asked for feedback, if you do find something is not clearly explained we will try to explain it better. The hub will be kept up to date as the new local plan is prepared. Please take a look - it has gone live

In addtion to the Local Plan documents, you can view a number of other planning, housing and heritage & design (conservation) documents, reports and strategies below.


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