Q&As

Are there any consequences if a council does not deliver a new local plan upon the expiry of the current one? Are there any avenues for a legal challenge against the council if the current local plan specifically includes a policy under which it states that the council will prepare and submit a new local plan by a specific date? What is the process for saving policies in the current plan by the expiry date?

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Produced in partnership with James Ryan of Acuity Law
Published on LexisPSL on 07/12/2020

The following Planning Q&A produced in partnership with James Ryan of Acuity Law provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Are there any consequences if a council does not deliver a new local plan upon the expiry of the current one? Are there any avenues for a legal challenge against the council if the current local plan specifically includes a policy under which it states that the council will prepare and submit a new local plan by a specific date? What is the process for saving policies in the current plan by the expiry date?
  • Failure by a local planning authority to deliver a replacement local plan
  • Contravention by an LPA of an LP policy requiring a replacement LP by a specific date
  • 'Saving' policies after the expiry of a LP period

Failure by a local planning authority to deliver a replacement local plan

Development plans are required under section 19(1B)–(1E) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (PCPA 2004) (as amended). The plan-making framework is set out in Part 3 of the National Planning Policy Framework (2019).

If a local planning authority (LPA) fails to deliver a replacement local plan (LP) by its due date, there will likely be no legal consequence. LPAs can and do default on such obligations. This could be because of a lack of resources, for example. However, in an extreme case, the Secretary of State (SoS) does have power to intervene and they can take over the preparation of an LP from an LPA.

Such an intervention should be considered to be a very last resort, because it is very unlikely that the SoS would wish to lightly intervene in what is in essence a set of policies which should emerge locally.

Under PCPA 2004, s 20(1), emerging LPs are subject to independent examination by an inspector appointed by the SoS, which helps to ensure conformity w

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