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What is planning policy?

Planning policy is the name given to a wide range of planning policies, strategies and documents that are used to inform and guide decisions on planning applications and are referred to in its totality as the Development Plan.  

Planning law requires that decisions on planning applications are made in accordance with the Development Plan unless other material considerations, relating to land use development indicate otherwise. 

Because of its ability to shape what our towns, villages, and countryside look and how they function, it is one of the key statutory responsibilities held by St Helens Borough Council in its role as the Local Planning Authority (LPA). The current Development Plan balances the need to create new places in order to live, work and visit by ensuring the environment and existing areas are not negatively affected.   

There are three main levels of the planning system:

National - The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) is the main document of national planning policy, and the latest version can be found here National Planning Policy Framework  

Local - In the St Helens borough area, this is formed by the Development Plan, which includes the St Helens Borough Local Plan, the Joint Merseyside and Halton Waste Plan, Bold Forest Park Area Action Plan, supported by supplementary planning documents (SPDs), these can be found on the Adopted plans and policies Page.  

Neighbourhood - Neighbourhood Plans can be prepared separately by a parish council, or neighbourhood forum and more information can be found on the Neighbourhood planning page.  

If you have any planning policy-related queries, please contact us via:

  • E-mail: planningpolicy@sthelens.gov.uk
  • Post:  Development Plans,  Place Services,   St Helens Borough Council,   PO Box 512,   ST HELENS,   WA10 9JX