About the Planning System

Local Plans

Planning involves making decisions about the future of our cities, towns and countryside. This is vital to balance our desire to develop the areas where we live and work with ensuring the surrounding environment isn't negatively affected for everyone. It includes considering the sustainable needs of future communities.

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. This 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.  

Once adopted, local plans provide the framework for development across England.