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Local development plans

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The Local Development Plan will be very important when making planning decisions.
This Manual is a reference document, principally for practitioners involved with Local Development Plans. It is not national policy.
Urgent clarification of planning policies and procedures.
Map Indicating Unitary Development Plan and Local Plan coverage in Wales.
Land use planning policies for minerals development are set out in Chapter 14 of Planning Policy Wales.

Every local planning authority (LPA) in Wales has a statutory duty to prepare a local development plan (LDP) within the framework set by national planning policy in Planning Policy Wales.

Under Section 38(6) of the Planning Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (external link), planning applications must be decided in accordance with the adopted LDP unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

Planning Policy Wales, Section 3.1 “Taking Planning Decisions” gives more information on material considerations.

LDP process and content

Policy on preparation of LDPs can be found in Planning Policy Wales Chapter 2 (2015), whilst practical guidance is in the Local Development Plan Manual Edition 2 (2015).

LDPs provide the proposals and policies to control development of the local area for the next 15 years and should be prepared in 4 years.

Once the LPA has prepared the LDP, there is an examination by an independent Planning Inspector to consider the ‘soundness’ of the plan, with hearings held in public.

Planning Inspectorate guidance 

Once adopted, LPAs must prepare an Annual Monitoring Report (AMR) demonstrating how the plan is delivering against its objectives. They must complete a full review every 4 years to ensure the plans stay up-to-date.

Community engagement is vital to the plan making process. LPAs publish a Delivery Agreement at the start of the process setting out the key stages and when people can get involved.

Our guidance sets out when people can formally respond and encourages continuous engagement throughout.