Local development framework

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A local development framework is the spatial planning strategy introduced in England and Wales by the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 and given detail in Planning Policy Statements 12. In most parts of the two countries, maintaining the framework is the responsibility of English district councils and Welsh principal area councils.


Planning Policy Statement 12: Creating Strong Safe and Prosperous Communities through Local Spatial Planning (commonly abbreviated as PPS 12), is a document produced by the British Government that sets out the Government's policy on the preparation of local development documents which will comprise the local development framework. The current version was introduced in June 2008 and replaces the original PPS 12: Local Development Frameworks which was produced in 2004.

The local development framework replaces the previous system of county level structure plans and district level local plans, and unitary development plans for unitary authorities.

The previous system was perceived as being too inflexible and difficult to change in a timely manner. The local development framework system is intended to improve this situation by replacing the old plans with a new portfolio of local development documents that can be tailored to suit the different needs of a particular area and can be easily updated.

The frameworks were prepared within a regional spatial strategy (RSS) prepared for each region by the Secretary of State (specifically the Deputy Prime Minister). Local development frameworks were required to have regard to the RSS until they were abolished in 2010.


Each framework will be a folder containing a number of inter-related documents:

Compulsory documents[edit]

Optional documents[edit]

Key Government Aims[edit]

  1. Flexibility
  2. Strengthening community and stakeholder involvement
  3. Front-loading sometimes - local authorities to take key decisions early in the preparation of local development documents.
  4. Sustainability appraisal
  5. Programme management
  6. Soundness - local development documents must be soundly based in terms of their content and the process by which they are produced. The must also be based upon a robust, credible evidence base.


The local development framework, together with the regional spatial strategy will provide the essential framework for planning in the local authority's area.

Development plan documents[edit]

A local development framework must include development plan documents (DPDs), which outline the key development goals of the local development framework. Development plan documents taken together are broadly equivalent to the old-style local plans.

Compulsory development plan documents[edit]

Optional development plan documents[edit]

  • Area action plan: an optional development plan document aimed at establishing a set of proposals and policies for the development of a specific area (such as a town centre or an area of new development) of a district authority. There is no limit on the number of area action plans that a local authority can develop.
  • Supplementary planning documents: established as part of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 in United Kingdom law, SPDs may cover a range of issues, thematic or site-specific, and provides further detail of policies and proposals in a 'parent' development plan document.

Development plan documents are subject to rigorous procedures of community involvement, consultation and independent examination. Once adopted, development control decisions must be made in accordance with the DPDs unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

DPDs must be examined with a sustainability appraisal to ensure economic, environmental and social effects of the plan are in line with sustainable development targets.


In practice, many local authorities have found Local Development Frameworks difficult to implement. Although progress on Local Development Frameworks was made in the years 2012-2015, an assessment by Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners has found any progress to be "marginal".[1][2]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]