1.1 Part 2 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (as amended) establishes the current system of local development planning in England (The Planning Act 2008 then the Localism Act 2011 made a number of amendments to part 2 of the 2004 Act. The Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012 set out the current system of plan making.). As part of this system, the local planning authority must prepare and maintain a Local Development Scheme (LDS), which sets out a list of the planning documents it intends to prepare in the forthcoming years and the timetable for the preparation of those documents.

1.2 Planning documents within this LDS are classified as development plan documents (referred to as local plans). Local plans are documents which:

  • Are prepared by a local planning authority individually or in cooperation with one or more other local planning authorities which contains statements regarding one or more of the following:
  • Set out the amount of development and use of land which the local planning authority wish to encourage during any specific period;
  • Allocate sites for a particular type of development or use;
  • Include development management and site allocation policies, which are intended to guide the determination of applications for planning permission.

1.3 A local planning authority can also prepare other plans that complement the local plan including for example, Area Action Plans (to cover a specific geographical part of the local authority area) or specific plans for particular allocations or policy matters not covered by the local plan.

1.4 Regulations require local authorities to review local plans and their Statements of Community Involvement at least every five years from the date of their adoption. Local Authorities will need to carry out an assessment of whether a Local Plan or Statement of Community Involvement remains relevant and effectively addresses the needs of the local community, or whether policies need updating. Having carried out this assessment authorities must decide:

  • that one or more policies do need updating, and update their Local Development Scheme to set out the timetable for updating their plan, and then update their plan; or
  • that their policies do not need updating, and publish their reasons for this decision.

1.5 The LDS should be kept up to date and was last reviewed in September 2023, to cover the period 2023-2025, to confirm the expected adoption of the new Local Plan in early 2024 and to provide information on the proposed list of supporting documents that the Council intends to produce to support the new Local Plan. This includes supplementary planning documents (SPDs) and a Masterplan for the North East Blackburn development site.

1.6 Please note that the LDS (2023) stated that a Biodiversity Net Gain Planning Advisory Note (BNG PAN) would be prepared and made available for November 2023, when mandatory BNG was proposed to take effect. However, the Government have now postponed the introduction of BNG until January 2024, and the Council are awaiting the Government’s release of the relevant secondary legislation and guidance (due November 2023), before the PAN can be finalised. Therefore, due to these Governmental delays, the PAN will now also be slightly delayed, but will be published before BNG takes effect in January 2024.