Paragraph 153 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) requires that each planning authority should prepare a Local Plan for its area. The Local Plan provides the framework for future development and addresses the needs and opportunities of the area, for example, in relation to housing, employment and shops and indicates where such development should take place.
The Local Plan must contribute to the achievement of sustainable development (Section 39 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004) and be consistent with the principles and policies in the government’s National Planning Policy Framework. In essence, the Local Plan should set out what the opportunities are for development in the area, and say what will and will not be permitted and where.
Local Plans are at the heart of the planning system and an important consideration in deciding planning applications. They set the framework in which decisions on particular proposals are taken locally. The law makes it clear that decisions on planning applications should be made in accordance (in line) with the policies and proposals within the development plan (which includes the Local Plan) unless other strong planning reasons or 'material considerations' indicate otherwise. It is therefore very important that you get involved in the preparation of planning policies and proposals within the Local Plan if you want to influence how your area will be developed in future. The sooner you get involved the greater the influence you can have on planning in your area.