Minefield or more benign?
Planning can seem a minefield, not just for large scale developers, but those seeking to build or expand on a more limited scale. We can pick up a local newspaper any day of the week and see talk of ‘The Local Plan’. It’s not too difficult to see it as overwhelming.
Actually, a Local Plan is someway removed from that image. It is simply a framework within which planning in a region can be measured and regulated. It is no more concerned with stymying development than it is with encouraging it.
What is a Local Plan?
OK, think of the area around you, the urban streets, the green fields or the industrial, possibly polluted, regions. What happens when someone wants to build on these sites, or renovate an existing building, or add to it? Clearly a vast housing estate slapped on a bit of countryside, or in an area where services are already stretched, isn’t a good idea.
A local authority forms a long-term Local Plan to ensure planning is overseen in a measured and consistent manner – a manner that will serve the overall needs of the district. Once the plan is in place it will dictate what development is permissible.
But who regulates the Local Plan?
The local authority is responsible for the plan. However, to ensure they don’t go ‘rogue’ and start building ten-storey car-parks in butterfly meadows, national planning policy sets clear expectations as to how planning must be justified, effective, consistent with national policy and positively prepared to deliver sustainable development that meets local needs and national priorities.
How do I find out what my Local Plan contains?
A Local Plan is a public document, albeit one that doesn’t make for easy reading (there’s a reason they don’t often feature in the bestseller lists). If you wish to consult your Local Plan, contact your local authority – all relevant numbers can be found on any council website. And of course the team here at Anthony Stockton Solicitors is always ready to help and advise – contact us on 0800 652 37 37.
In addition, we’ve compiled a jargon busting resource about conveyancing where you may find useful information concerning property and planning.