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What is planning policy?

Planning policy is a continuous process which focuses on achieving long-term sustainable development. The delivery of high-quality developments, facilitating improvements in infrastructure, improving social wellbeing and enhancing the natural environment are some of the fundamental objectives of planning policy.

There are three main levels of the planning system:

  1. National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)
    The NPPF sets out the Government's planning policies on economic, social and environmental issues and how these are expected to be applied.
  2. Local Plans
    Reflecting the NPPF, Local Plans make strategic provision for the long-term use of land and buildings, providing a framework for local decision-making.
  3. Neighbourhood Plans
    The Localism Act 2011 and the Neighbourhood Planning Regulations 2012 allow for the creation of Neighbourhood Plans. Where a Neighbourhood Plan has been adopted, it will form part of the Development Plan for that neighbourhood and help determine planning applications.

Planning law requires that decisions on planning applications are made in accordance with the adopted Development Plan (including Local and Neighbourhood Plans) unless other material considerations, relating to land use development (such as the National Planning Policy Framework), indicate otherwise.

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