Local planning authorities (LPA) are required to produce a Development Plan which sets out the policies and proposals for the development and use of land in their area. The term Development Plan is a catch all for a variety of different types of documents, which in combination set out the parameters for acceptable development in each Council area. The Development Plan can include Local Plans, Neighbourhood Plans, Core Strategies and other Development Plan Documents (DPD) such as Site Allocation DPD. These are fundamental in the determination of planning applications and appeals because the Town and Country Planning Act dictates that planning applications must be decided in line with the relevant policies of the Development Plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise.
When development plans are produced they go through a series of consultation stages including what is known as an Examination in Public, where an independent inspector considers any unresolved objections and makes recommendations to the LPA. Given the importance of Development Plans it is vital to engage in these consultation exercises, as they present an opportunity to influence emerging policy in a manner that increases flexibility and avoids unreasonable restrictions on your land and property interests. This can include releasing land from restrictive policy designations such as green belt and even promoting the specific allocation of land for development.
Our role in this process is to advise our clients on the implications of emerging planning policy and where appropriate make representations on their behalf during the key stages in the production of the Development Plan. This can include appearing and presenting evidence at the Examination in Public.