Local planning authorities must prepare a local plan which sets planning policies in a local authority area. These are very important when deciding planning applications. Independent planning inspectors must look at all local plan documents that local authorities in England prepare for an examination. The examination is the last stage of the process for producing a local plan. The process should have fully involved everyone who has an interest in the document and they should have had the chance to comment.
Local plans must be positively prepared, justified, effective and consistent with national policy in accordance with section 20 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (as amended) and the National Planning Policy Framework.
The National Planning Policy Framework was published on 27 March 2012.
The framework gives guidance to local councils in drawing up local plans and on making decisions on planning applications.
The Government aim is for every area to have a clear local plan which sets out local people's views of how they wish their community to develop, consistent with the framework and against which planning applications for planning permission will be judged.
Following the publication of the National Planning Policy Framework (‘the Framework’) planning authorities with adopted plans or plans in preparation will need to consider which, if any, parts of those plans need updating.
The Framework states that Local Plans should be based upon and reflect the presumption in favour of sustainable development, with clear policies that will guide how the presumption should be applied locally (paragraph 15).
The Planning Inspectorate considers that this model wording will, if incorporated into a draft Local Plan submitted for examination, be an appropriate way of meeting this expectation.
Planning authorities will of course also need to consider what other aspects of their plans may need to be revised in order to reflect the approach of the presumption, to meet the development needs of the area.
New Guidance (PDF) is now available which provides advice on how to carry out a fast track review of specific policies in Local Plans following the publication of the National Planning Policy Framework. This fast-track guidance has been made available to help local councils update discrete parts of their local plan in around 6 months.
This process outlined will be most appropriate for a review of one or a small number of specific policy issues. Such reviews could consist of, for example, car parking standards or provision of open space and recreation, but are unlikely to be able to cover issues which are fundamental to a plan such as housing or employment strategies.
The DCLG Plan Making Manual is an on-line only resource aimed at providing guidance and best practice on local plans. The plan-making manual is updated on a regular basis in order to capture emerging best practice, and also to publish additional advice on aspects of the revised plan-making process.
The Planning Inspectorate maintains a national database of Local Plan progress
This information is updated as plans complete the examination process, and when the Planning Inspectorate receives updates from local councils on publications and adoptions.
Please Note: In order to ensure this data is as up to date as possible, the Planning Inspectorate requests the co-operation of Councils, in advising the Inspectorate Plans Team about plan publications as per paragraph 5 of the Letter to Chief Planning Officers - Preparation and Monitoring of Local Plans 30 March 2011. This also applies to the publication of Community Infrastructure Levy Charging Schedules.
Similarly, following the issue of final reports on examinations, it is requested that Councils advise the Inspectorate Plans Team when plans are formally adopted.
Publication or adoption dates should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, Councils may write to:-
3/12 Kite Wing
Temple Quay House
2 The Square
Following on from the Royal Assent of the Localism Act and the publication of the National Planning Policy Framework we are currently updating our guidance.
General Advisory Guidance (August 2009) has been created for Local Authorities submitting Development Plan Documents (DPDs) to the Planning Inspectorate for examination.
The Examining Development Plan Documents: Procedure Guidance Revised August 2009 deals with the procedural aspects of dealing with the examination of development plan documents (DPDs) after submission and is aimed at all those involved in the process of examining a DPD. In addition to the guide, a further table has been produced which shows the estimated timescale for examinations where an Inspector decides that no pre-hearing meeting is required.
The Examining Development Plan Documents: Learning from Experience document (PDF version) highlights our experience up to August 2009.
The Examining Development Plan Documents:Soundness Guidance document has been withdrawn following publication of the National Planning Policy Framework.
Revised fees for local plan examinations, intended to recover from local planning authorities the cost of providing Inspectors, were introduced on 3 January 2007.
The fees for local plan examinations were set under the Town and Country Planning (Costs of Inquiries etc) (Standard Daily Amount) Regulations 2006 (SI 2006/3227), following consultation with planning bodies (the Local Government Association, the Planning Officers’ Society, the Royal Town Planning Institute and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
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