Adopting or approving a masterplan

Decide on what level of formal status your masterplan will have and use this to inform your route through the planning process.

Adopting or approving a masterplan is part of the masterplanning process.

The path you choose influences the scope and methodology of the project and also has a strong bearing on decisions made about risk management, delivery, procurement and quality management.

If it is to have a formal status, your final plan can be either:

A more formal status offers a more robust, fixed opportunity to manage long-term change, manage different values and views, control timescales, give consistent guidance on the future of an area, set out a clear distinction between fixed and flexible requirements, maximise the economic value of local assets and coordinate delivery mechanisms to implement change. More prescription, formality and legal weight might be appropriate if stakeholders are seeking to achieve quite specific outcomes.

How do I adopt or approve a masterplan?

  1. Consider the status of masterplan outputs
    Whether you are preparing a masterplan for adoption or for submission with a planning application, you need to be as clear as you can about outputs in the project brief.
  2. Check formal requirements
    For masterplans adopted as part of the planning framework, there are different requirements according to status.
  3. Determine fixed and indicative elements
    Be clear about what the status of your document and the way you present and describe it mean for the level of certainty of your proposals – what you fix and what you leave flexible.
  4. Submit the document for approval
    Follow the requirements set out in national and local policy and guidance when you submit your plan for approval.

Examples of adopting or approving a masterplan

Useful links

  • Design quality and planning control

  • P7 Finalisation for planning
  • P8 Processing the planning application

CLG Circular 01/2006: Guidance on Changes to the Development Control System

This circular sets out information relevant to local development orders, outline and reserved matters applications and design and access statements.

The Town and Country Planning (General Development Procedure) (Amendment) (England) Order 2006

This order specifies procedures connected with planning applications, appeals to the Secretary of State and related matters.

Design and Access Statements: How to Read, Write and Use Them