Determining planning applications—priority of the development plan
Determining planning applications—priority of the development plan

The following Local Government guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Determining planning applications—priority of the development plan
  • Statutory requirement to have regard to the development plan in planning application decisions
  • Priority and interpretation of the development plan in planning application decisions
  • Importance of establishing whether proposed development accords with the development plan as a whole
  • Priority of the development plan in light of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)
  • Is a development plan absent, silent or out of date?
  • When can a development plan be considered to be ‘silent’?
  • Explanatory/supporting text in a development plan
  • Practical tips when assessing a development plan in light of a planning application proposal

Statutory requirement to have regard to the development plan in planning application decisions

When considering an application for planning permission or permission in principle, section 70(2) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (TCPA 1990) states that the decision-maker must have regard to:

  1. the provisions of the development plan, so far as material to the application

  2. a post-examination draft neighbourhood development plan, so far as material to the application

  3. any considerations relating to the use of the Welsh language, so far as material to the application

  4. any local finance considerations, so far as material to the application

  5. any other material considerations

If a decision-maker fails to take account of relevant considerations or has taken into account irrelevant considerations, the decision is at risk of being quashed.

As was clarified by Lord Hoffmann in Tesco Stores v Secretary of State for the Environment, the question of whether something is a relevant consideration is one of law, but the weight to be given to any relevant consideration is a matter for the decision-maker, with which the court will only interfere on the grounds of Wednesbury irrationality.

This Practice Note focuses on how decision-makers must take the development plan into account, the assessment of any conflict with the development plan and key cases where this has been examined. This Practice Note does not deal