Local Plans are a key component of the planning system. They shape how land use and places will change and develop in the future. Planning applications need to be in line with Local Plans otherwise they are unlikely to receive planning permission. It is when Local Plans are being prepared therefore that you can have the most influence over shaping the future of your local area.
Once the Local Plan is adopted, many of the big decisions have usually been made, and your influence becomes more limited. It is therefore important that all of us – the public – and our community representatives, such as parish and town councillors, are aware of when and how to engage with Local Plans, in order to have our say about how we would like our cities, towns and villages to change and develop. If you don’t speak up, you won’t be heard!
Why are local plans important?
Local Plans have a key role in delivering sustainable development:
- They have an economic role (planning for prosperity) – they help to ensure that sufficient land of the right type, and in the right places, is available to allow businesses to set up and grow, and to be supported by infrastructure such as roads and railways.
- They have a social role (planning for people and places) – they can promote strong, vibrant and healthy communities, by providing for housing, leisure and recreation facilities, shops and schools.
- They have an environmental role (planning for the environment) – they help to protect and enhance landscapes and wildlife, historic buildings and archaeology, and they can help to ensure that water, minerals and energy are used more efficiently.