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Planning Portal Glossary: D


The Glossary is neither a statement of law nor an interpretation of the law, and its status is only an introductory guide to planning issues and should not be used as a source for statutory definitions.

Decent Home Communities and Local Government standard which states that a home must be warm, weatherproof and have reasonably modern facilities in order to be classed as 'decent'. The programme is schedule to end in 2010.

Delegated Powers

A power conferred to designated planning officers by locally elected councillors so that the officers may take decisions on specified planning matters behalf of the council.

Decentralised energy

Local renewable energy and local low-carbon energy usually but not always on a relatively small scale encompassing a diverse range of technologies.

Demand Responsive Transport

A local transport service tailored to passenger needs, operating not unlike a taxi service. Usually provided where there are infrequent bus services, such as rural areas.


In the case of residential development, a measurement of either the number of habitable rooms per hectare or the number of dwellings per hectare.


A proposed development that is not in accordance with the adopted development plan, but for which the local planning authority proposes to grant planning permission (subject to no intervention from the Government).


A term describing the statutory consultation period for plans being progressed under transitional arrangements.

Design Commission for Wales

The Design Commission for Wales is a national organisation established and core funded by the National Assembly for Wales. DCFW's mission is to champion high standards of architecture, landscape and urban design in Wales and promote a wider understanding of the importance of good quality in the built environment. 

Design Code A set of illustrated design rules and requirements which instruct and may advise on the physical development of a site or area. The graphic and written components of the code are detailed and precise, and build upon a design vision such as a masterplan or other design and development framework for a site or area.

Design Guide

A document providing guidance on how development can be carried out in accordance with good design practice often produced by a local authority with a view to retaining local distinctiveness.

Design Statement

A design statement can be made at a pre-planning application stage by a developer, indicating the design principles upon which a proposal is to be based. It may also be submitted in support of a planning application.

Designated heritage asset

A World Heritage Site, Scheduled Monument, Listed Building, Protected Wreck Site, Registered Park and Garden, Registered Battlefield or Conservation Area designated under the relevant legislation.

Detailed Application / Full application

A planning application seeking full permission for a development proposal, with no matters reserved for later planning approval. You can make a full application online on this website. 


The process by which a local planning authority reaches a decision on whether a proposed development requires planning permission.


Development is defined under the 1990 Town and Country Planning Act as "the carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operation in, on, over or under land, or the making of any material change in the use of any building or other land." Most forms of development require planning permission (see also "permitted development").

Development Control & Development Management

The process whereby a local planning authority receives and considers the merits of a planning application and whether it should be given permission having regard to the development plan and all other material considerations.

Development Limits & Development Boundaries

Development limits identify the area within which development proposals would be acceptable, subject to complying with other policies contained in the Development Plan. They seek to prevent development from gradually extending into the surrounding countryside.

Development Plan

A document setting out the local planning authority's policies and proposals for the development and use of land and buildings in the authority's area. This includes adopted Local Plans, neighbourhood plans and the London Plan, and is defined in section 38 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. 

(Regional strategies remain part of the development plan until they are abolished by Order using powers taken in the Localism Act. It is the Government’s clear policy intention to revoke the regional strategies outside of London, subject to the outcome of the environmental assessments that are currently being undertaken.)

Development Plan Documents (DPDs)

Development Plan Documents are prepared by local planning authorities and outline the key development goals of the local development framework.

Development Plan Documents include the core strategy and, where needed, area action plans. There will also be an adopted proposals map which illustrates the spatial extent of policies that must be prepared and maintained to accompany all DPDs.

All DPDs must be subject to rigorous procedures of community involvement, consultation and independent examination, and adopted after receipt of the inspector's binding report. Once adopted, development control decisions must be made in accordance with them unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

DPDs form an essential part of the Local Development Framework.

Disabled Access

The means by which disabled people (as defined in the Disability Discrimination Act 1995) can conveniently go where they want.

Distributor road

Roads that distribute traffic and bus services within the main residential, commercial and industrial built-up areas.

District Centres

A group of shops and some service outlets serving part of an urban area and providing a geographic focus for it, separate from the town centre but with more variety than local centres.

Dormant Site

A site with planning permission on which mineral operations has now ceased.

Dwelling and Dwelling house

A self-contained building or part of a building used as a residential accommodation, and usually housing a single household. A dwelling may be a house, bungalow, flat, maisonette or converted farm building.


The Glossary is neither a statement of law nor an interpretation of the law, and its status is only an introductory guide to planning issues and should not be used as a source for statutory definitions.