Planning in the Peak District
Keep up to date!
There's no point fighting against a development without understanding how if will fit future plans and policies. You could well be using a particular policy to argue your case against a development; for example, a countryside protection designation to oppose a housing development. But what happens to your argument if this area has been changed to a residential designation in, say, a new Development Plan...?
If you are interested in finding out about what is happening in your area, ask to be put on your local planning authority's planning consultation database.
- Peak District National Park Authority
- High Peak Borough Council
- North East Derbyshire District Council
Regional Plans were high-powered development plans and in the past all planning applications have had to comply with them.
The Government has committed to abolishing Regional Plans. We expect the East Midlands Regional Plan - which covers the Peak District - to be gone by the end of 2012, but it depends on how speedy the Government is.
Local Plans - becoming Development Plans...
The Peak District National Park Authority, High Peak Borough Council and North East Derbyshire District Council are currently replacing their Local Plans. In their place will be a collection of planning documents which together will make up the Development Plan for each area:
- the Regional Plan (soon to be abolished)
- the Local Plan and Core Strategy (created by the local planning authority)
- the Neighbourhood Plan (created by local communities)
This hierarchy of planning documents reflects recent changes made to the planning system. We now how a variety of documents which constitute the Development plan. Until all the documents are adopted, some old policies within to old Local Plan remain pertinent.
Development Plans identify sites where different types of development are allowed, for example employment, housing, retail, leisure or community facilities. They also identify where development is restricted, for example in the countryside or nature conservation sites.
Development Plans also contain written policies that control the details of a development, its appearance and environmental impacts. Policies often include guidance on affordable housing provision, use of materials and design, impacts on neighbouring properties and flood prevention. Even if a development is allowed within an area identified in the plan, it may still be refused if it does not comply with these written policies.
Core Strategies will include the main planning policies for the area. They identify settlements and areas where housing and employment will be encouraged or restricted. Core Strategies are backed up by a range of other documents that could include
- detailed sets of policy documents on things like urban design, open space, nature conservation and sustainability
- proposals maps identifying development sites
- detailed area action plans showing where areas need regeneration or strict management
The Peak District National Park Authority has an adopted Core Strategy. It identifies the settlements in which limited development will be accepted, and includes policies that deliver National Park purposes.
High Peak Borough Council and North East Derbyshire District Council should adopt their Core Strategies in 2013. These will include housing and employment land targets, and indicate which settlements will deliver this growth. They will also indicate the general extent of the Green Belt.
Site allocations, area designations and policies
Following adoption of their Core Strategies, each local planning authority will develop more detailed site policies which will should, in theory at least, deliver the housing and employment targets, whilst protecting sensitive areas.
These documents will actually identify sites which will be developed, and those areas which will be protected. Each local planning authority is producing different documents at different times. So to find out where development is proposed in your area - speak to your local planning policy team.
Supplementary planning documents
Given the complexity of some issues, detailed guidance on the delivery of a policy is required. For example, a policy in the Core Strategy may set our an affordable housing target. A supplementary planning document on affordable housing will then set out criteria for assessing the types required and the exact number on each site.
Supplementary planning documents often include design guides, open space requirements and area design statements. They also influence the result of planning applications, so don't overlook them.
The Government has introduced Neighbourhood Planning. Parish councils and neighbourhood forums (if no parish council exists) have been given plan-making powers. Their plans can identify sites for development, but they must not conflict with the local authority's Core Strategy. In other words, they can't be used to prevent development.
Local communities must be consulted, and the plan must be supported by more than 50% of residents in a referendum.
If a parish or forum wishes to develop their own Neighbourhood Plan, they must speak to their local planning authority. It will have to approve the area which the plan covers, and in the case of a forum, approve the creation of the forum itself.
For more information see CPRE's national planning help.