A Local Plan should make clear what is intended to happen in the area over the life of the plan, where and when this will occur and how it will be delivered. This can be done by setting out broad locations and specific allocations of land for different purposes; through designations showing areas where particular opportunities or considerations apply (such as protected habitats); and through criteria-based policies to be taken into account when considering development. A policies map must illustrate geographically the application of policies in a development plan. The policies map may be supported by such other information as the Local Planning Authority sees fit to best explain the spatial application of development plan policies.
Local Plans should be tailored to the needs of each area in terms of their strategy and the policies required. They should focus on the key issues that need to be addressed and be aspirational but realistic in what they propose. The Local Plan should aim to meet the objectively assessed development and infrastructure needs of the area, including unmet needs of neighbouring areas where this is consistent with policies in the National Planning Policy Framework as a whole. Local Plans should recognise the contribution that Neighbourhood Plans can make in planning to meet development and infrastructure needs.
The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) defines a Local Plan as:
‘The plan for the future development of the local area, drawn up by the Local Planning Authority in consultation with the community. In law this is described as the development plan documents adopted under the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. Current core strategies or other planning policies, which under the regulations would be considered to be development plan documents, form part of the Local Plan. The term includes old policies which have been saved under the 2004 Act.’