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Clun Village in Clun Vallley

Development Plans

Government Office for the West Midlands works with partners to promote understanding of development plans in the form of Local Development Frameworks (LDF) to ensure that development in the region meets the needs of creating sustainable communities. Development plans provide developers and local people with a clear idea of how an area may change and of the types of development that would or would not be acceptable in particular locations.

Local Development Frameworks

LDFs prepared by local planning authorities consist of a portfolio of Local Development Documents (LDDs) to manage how change takes place in the area. These can either be Development Plan Documents (DPDs) or Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs). A visual guide to LDFs can be viewed at http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/england/genpub/en/1115311947782.html

We have a role in guiding and scrutinising the preparation of LDFs. It is our responsibility to make sure development plans are consistent with national policy and that they are prepared in accordance with the Town and Country Planning (Local Development) (England) Regulations 2004, as ammended. If we consider a development plan to be unsatisfactory in its interpretation of national planning guidance, we would make representations at the Examination in Public but beforehand we try to advise local planning authorities through the process to ensure that the development plan is found to be sound. Formal representations are also made once documents are submitted to the Secretary of State for examination. Ultimately, the Secretary of State has powers to direct a local planning authority not to adopt an LDD.

By having close working relationships with local planning authorities and commenting on emerging development plan documents, GOWM seeks to highlight any potential weaknesses in relation to the tests of soundness, and to encourage good practice.

We also scrutinise Local Development Schemes, which inform about a local planning authority’s programmes for the preparation and production of LDF documents, namely: Local Development Documents (LDD) incorporating Development Plan Documents (DPD) and Supplementary Planning Documents (SPD). Statements of Community Involvement (SCI).

Transitional Arrangements

It will take time for local planning authorities to prepare their LDFs, which will replace “old style development plans”. During the transition, development plans will include the following documents:

  • Saved policies from Structure plans - prepared by the structure planning authorities (county councils, unitary authorities and the Region's national park authority, Peak District National Park Authority) setting out key strategic policies for the area(s) as a framework for local planning
  • Local plans adopted after commencement of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (28 September 2004) or for local plans prepared before that date, saved policies  - prepared by local planning authorities, including national park authorities, setting out more detailed policies to guide development in their areas, including proposals for specific sites
  • Minerals and Waste local plans or saved policies - prepared by county, joint and national park authorities, setting out the land use policies for managing minerals and waste in their areas.

Adopted structure and local plans retained development plans status and automatically become 'saved' policies for a period of three years from commencement of the Planning and Compensation Act 2004 (i.e. from 28 September 2004). For plans in preparation at that date, the three-year period started from the adoption of the relevant plan.

If policies have not been replaced in new Development Plan Documents and are to be saved beyond the three years, local planning authorities need the approval of the Secretary of State (by means of a direction setting out which policies have been saved). A list of saved policies and current “old style development plans” can be found on the relevant local planning authority’s websites.

GOWM Responses to Local Development Documents

The Government Office for the West Midlands (GOWM) has a key role in guiding local planning authorities within the West Midlands in the production of sound Development Plans.

From 27 June 2008 amended regulations were brought into effect. Where GOWM has commented, responses are made under new Regulation 25 (Public Participation), Regulation 27 (Publication), and Regulation 28 (submission).

Responses made by the Government Office for the West Midlands on Development Plan Documents which are being prepared by local authorities within the region can be found by selecting the appropriate local authority from the list of local authorities shown in the left hand navigation box.

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