Preparing local plans

The following Planning practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Preparing local plans
  • Introduction
  • Determination of applications in accordance with the development plan
  • Authority responsible for preparing a local plan
  • Joint local plans
  • NPPF—plan-making
  • Planning Practice Guidance (PPG)
  • Key statutory requirements
  • Matters to which the LPA must have regard when preparing a local plan
  • Form and content of local plans and adopted policies map
  • More...

Preparing local plans

Coronavirus (COVID-19): This Practice Note contains guidance on subjects potentially impacted by the government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. For further updates on key developments and related practical guidance on the implications for lawyers, see: Coronavirus (COVID-19)—Planning and the Coronavirus (COVID-19) toolkit.


The planning system in England and Wales is plan-led. This means that the process of managing the development and use of land centres around policies set out in development plans, with planning applications being determined in accordance with those plans, unless material considerations indicate otherwise (see Practice Note: Determining planning applications—priority of the development plan). Planning policy set out in a plan:

  1. determines the type and location of development in an area

  2. helps achieve the key objectives of local planning authorities (LPAs), and

  3. helps inform the process of determining planning applications

See Practice Notes: Planning policy in England and Planning policy in Wales for further background on the policy structure in England and Wales.

Determination of applications in accordance with the development plan

Planning decisions must be made in accordance with the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise. The 'development plan' consists of the local plans and neighbourhood plans (taken as a whole) that have been adopted or approved in relation to that area. Since July 2017 post-examination draft neighbourhood development plans also form part of the development plan. See Practice Notes: Determining

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