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Strategic Planning

Planning Glossary and Acronyms

Glossary A-G


Area Action Plan

A type of Development Plan Document focused upon a specific location or an area subject to conservation or significant change (for example major regeneration).

Annual Monitoring Report (AMR)

A report by local planning authorities assessing progress with and the effectiveness of a Local Plan.



Communities and Local Government

Communities and Local Government' is the Government department whose remit is to promote community cohesion and equality, as well as responsibility for housing, urban regeneration, planning and local government.

Core strategy

A Development Plan Document setting out the spatial vision and strategic objectives of the planning framework for an area, having regard to the Community Strategy (see also DPDs).



Development is defined in Section 55 of the 1990 Town and Country Planning Act as "the carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operation in, on, over or under land, or the making of any material change in the use of any building or other land." Certain activities may be of such a limited significance that the relevant local planning authority determines that they don't constitute development (i.e. are de minimis)

Development Plan Documents (DPDs)

Development Plan Documents are prepared by local planning authorities and outline the key development goals of the Local Plan.



Exemplar "green developments". They will meet the highest standards of sustainability, including low and zero carbon technologies and quality public transport systems. They will make use of brownfield land and surplus public sector land where practical and lead the way in design, facilities and services, and community involvement

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), and Environmental Statement (EA)

Applicants for certain types of development, usually more significant schemes, are required to submit an "environmental statement" accompanying a planning application. This evaluates the likely environmental impacts of the development, together with an assessment of how the severity of the impacts could be reduced.



Green Belt (not to be confused with the term 'greenfield')

A designation for land around certain cities and large built-up areas, which aims to keep this land permanently open or largely undeveloped. The purposes of the green belt is to:

  • check the unrestricted sprawl of large built up areas

  • prevent neighbouring towns from merging

  • safeguard the countryside from encroachment

  • preserve the setting and special character of historic towns

  • assist urban regeneration by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land

Green belts are defined in a local planning authority's development plan.

Greenfield Land or Site

Land (or a defined site) usually farmland, that has not previously been developed.



Glossary H-R




Basic services necessary for development to take place, for example, roads, electricity, sewerage, water, education and health facilities.




Local Aggregate Assessment (LAA)

An annual report by local planning authorities assessing the historic sales with the planned requirement for aggregates in a Local Plan.

Local Area Agreement (LAA)

A three year agreement, based on local Sustainable Community Strategies, that sets out the priorities for a local area agreed between Central Government, represented by the Government Office (GO), and a local area, represented by the local authority and other key partners through Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs).

Local Development Documents (LDDs)

These include Development Plan Documents (which form part of the statutory development plan) and Supplementary Planning Documents (which do not form part of the statutory development plan). LDDs collectively deliver the spatial planning strategy for the local planning authority's area.

Local Development Framework (LDF)

The Local Development Framework (LDF) is a non-statutory term used to describe a folder of documents, which includes all the local planning authority's local development documents. An LDF is comprised of:

  • Development Plan Documents (which form part of the statutory development plan)

  • Supplementary Planning Documents

The local development framework will also comprise of:

  • the Statement of Community Involvement

  • the Local Development Scheme

  • the Annual Monitoring Report

any Local Development Orders or Simplified Planning Zones that may have been added

Local Development Scheme (LDS)

The local planning authority's time-scaled programme for the preparation of Local Development Documents that must be agreed with government and reviewed every year.

Local Planning Authority

The local authority or council that is empowered by law to exercise planning functions. Often the local borough or district council. National parks and the Broads authority are also considered to be local planning authorities. County councils are the authority for waste and minerals matters.

Local Strategic Partnership (LSP)

An overall partnership of people that brings together organisations from the public, private, community and voluntary sector within a local authority area, with the objective of improving people's quality of life.

Local Transport Plan

A five-year integrated transport strategy, prepared by local authorities in partnership with the community, seeking funding to help provide local transport projects. The plan sets out the resources predicted for delivery of the targets identified in the strategy. Local transport plans should be consistent with the policies and priorities set out in the Regional Transport Strategy as an integral part of the Regional Spatial Strategy.


Market Towns

Small to medium-sized country towns that are rural service, social and economic centres. Most also hold or used to hold a regular market.


National Park

The statutory purposes of national parks are to conserve and enhance their natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage and to promote opportunities for public understanding and enjoyment of their special qualities. National parks are designated by the Countryside Agency, subject to confirmation by the Secretary of State under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949.

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)

The framework acts as guidance for local planning authorities and decision-takers, both in drawing up plans and making decisions about planning applications


Open Space

All space of public value, including public landscaped areas, playing fields, parks and play areas, and also including not just land, but also areas of water such as rivers, canals, lakes and reservoirs, which can offer opportunities for sport and recreation or can also act as a visual amenity and a haven for wildlife.


Planning & Compulsory Purchase Act 2004

The Act updates elements of the 1990 Town & Country Planning Act. The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 introduces:

  • a statutory system for regional planning

  • a new system for local planning

  • reforms to the development control and compulsory purchase and compensation systems

removal of crown immunity from planning controls.

Planning Gain

The benefits or safeguards, often for community benefit, secured by way of a planning obligation as part of a planning approval and usually provided at the developer's expense. For example, affordable housing, community facilities or mitigation measures.

Planning Inspectorate

The Planning Inspectorate is the government body responsible for:

  • the processing of planning and enforcement appeals

  • holding inquiries into local development plans

  • listed building consent appeals

  • advertisement appeals

  • reporting on planning applications called in for decision by the Secretary of State or in Wales with the National Assembly for Wales

  • examinations of development plan documents and statements of community involvement

  • various compulsory purchase orders, rights of way cases; and cases arising from the Environmental Protection and Water Acts and the Transport and Works Act and other highways legislation are also dealt with.

The work is set in agreement with Department for Transport, the Department for Communities and Local Government and the National Assembly for Wales.

Planning Obligations and Agreements

Legal agreements between a planning authority and a developer, or undertakings offered unilaterally by a developer, that ensure that certain extra works related to a development are undertaken. For example, the provision of highways. Sometimes called "Section 106" agreements.

Planning Policy Guidance (PPG)

Issued by central government setting out its national land use policies for England on different areas of planning. These were replaced by Planning Policy Statements.

Planning Policy Statement (PPS)

Issued by central government to replace Planning Policy Guidance notes in order to provide greater clarity and to remove from national policy advice on practical implementation, which is better expressed as guidance rather than policy. PPS's were replaced largely by the NPPF.

Previously Developed Land (PDL) or 'Brownfield' land

Previously developed land is that which is or was occupied by a permanent structure (excluding agricultural or forestry buildings), and associated fixed-surface infrastructure. The definition covers the curtilage of the development.

Public Open Space

Urban space, designated by a council, where public access may or may not be formally established, but which fulfils or can fulfil a recreational or non-recreational role (for example, amenity, ecological, educational, social or cultural usages).




The economic, social and environmental renewal and improvement of rural and urban areas.


Glossary S-Z


Spatial Planning

Spatial planning goes beyond traditional land use planning to bring together and integrate policies for the development and use of land with other policies and programmes which influence the nature of places and how they function.

This will include policies which can impact on land use by influencing the demands on, or needs for, development, but which are not capable of being delivered solely or mainly through the granting or refusal of planning permission and which may be implemented by other means.

Spatial Vision

A brief description of how the area will be changed at the end of a plan period.

Statement of Community Involvement (SCI)

The Statement of Community Involvement sets out the processes to be used by the local authority in involving the community in the preparation, alteration and continuing review of all local development documents and development control decisions. The Statement of Community Involvement is an essential part of Local Development Frameworks.

Strategic Development Area (SDA)

A new sustainable community of between 5,000 and 10,000 new homes, together with a full range of supporting services and facilities, and sufficient employment land to be potentially ‘self contained’

Strategic Employment Site

A key employment site in a strategic location capable of accommodating major investment, often of national or regional significance.

Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)

An environmental assessment of certain plans and programmes, including those in the field of planning and land use, which complies with the EU Directive 2001/42/EC. The environmental assessment involves the:

  • preparation of an environmental report

  • carrying out of consultations

  • taking into account of the environmental report and the results of the consultations in decision making

  • provision of information when the plan or programme is adopted

showing that the results of the environment assessment have been taken into account

Sub-regional partnership

A sub-regional strategic body directing, influencing and co-ordinating a range of economic development and regeneration activities often made up of key private, public and other interests.

Supplementary Planning Document (SPD)

A Supplementary Planning Document is a Local Development Document that may cover a range of issues, thematic or site specific, and provides further detail of policies and proposals in a 'parent' Development Plan Document.

Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG)

Supplementary Planning Guidance may cover a range of issues, both thematic and site specific and provide further detail of policies and proposals in a development plan.

Sustainability Appraisal (including Environmental Appraisal)

An appraisal of the economic, environmental and social effects of a plan from the outset of the preparation process to allow decisions to be made that accord with sustainable development.

Sustainable Communities

Places where people want to live and work, now and in the future.

Sustainable Communities Plan

A programme issued by the government to set the framework for delivering sustainable communities over the next 15-20 years. The main areas of focus are housing supply, new growth areas, decent homes and the countryside and local environment.

Sustainable Development

A widely used definition drawn up by the World Commission on Environment and Development in 1987: "Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

The government has set out four aims for sustainable development in its strategy A Better Quality of Life, a Strategy for Sustainable Development in the UK.

The four aims, to be achieved simultaneously, are:

  • social progress which recognises the needs of everyone

  • effective protection of the environment

  • prudent use of natural resources

maintenance of high and stable levels of economic growth and employment.



Urban Design

The art of making places. It involves the design of buildings, groups of buildings, spaces and landscapes, in villages, towns and cities, to create successful development.

Urban Extension

Involves the planned expansion of a city or town and can contribute to creating more sustainable patterns of development when located in the right place, with well-planned infrastructure including access to a range of facilities, and when developed at appropriate densities.

Urban Regeneration

Making an urban area develop or grow strong again through means such as job creation and environmental renewal.







Planning Acronyms

AMR Annual Monitoring Report

AAP Area Action Plan

DPD Development Plan Document

LDD Local Development Document

LDF Local Development Framework

LDS Local Development Scheme

LEP Local Economic Partnership

LEA Local Economic Assessment

LTP Local Transport Plan

LSP Local Strategic Partnership

MWDF Minerals and Waste Development Framework

PPG Planning Policy Guidance

PPS Planning Policy Statement

SA Sustainability Appraisal

SCI Statement of Community Involvement

SEA Strategic Environmental Assessment

SPD Supplementary Planning Document

SPG Supplementary Planning Guidance


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