About the Beta
On 28 August 2013, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) launched for testing and comment in Beta this national planning practice guidance web-based resource.
The site was open for public testing and comment until 14 October 2013. We are currently considering the comments received on both the content of the draft planning practice guidance, and the usability and functionality of the web-based resource. Following consideration of these comments, we will launch the site fully with the planning practice guidance issued by the Secretary of State. At that time, we will also cancel the current planning practice guidance which will be replaced by the material on this web-based resource. Existing planning practice guidance will remain in place until then.
This site remains in Beta, and the planning practice guidance is in draft form and has not yet been issued by the Secretary of State.
Once final this will be the first time national planning practice guidance has been available entirely online in an up-to-date, usable and accessible way. This web-based resource for planning practice guidance is being developed following the recommendations of the External Review of Planning Practice Guidance which the Government consulted on earlier this year. Lord Taylor of Goss Moor chaired this review, and you can read the Government’s response to the consultation, or find background information on the review here.
What is the status of the draft planning practice guidance during Beta?
In preparing Local Plans and taking decisions, local planning authorities need to consider and have regard to planning practice guidance issued by the Government. This is also the case for those communities and authorities undertaking neighbourhood planning. In carrying out any of these activities, communities and authorities can only be expected to have considered the guidance that is in effect when plans are prepared or when decisions are taken. Those plans that have reached a point where final plans have been submitted will not have had an opportunity to make any revisions to accommodate any new Government planning practice guidance. The Government has therefore set out the following positions with regard to decision taking and Local and neighbourhood Plans.
The Government considers that where the planning practice guidance published in draft on this web-based resource during Beta is a material consideration, it is likely to have limited weight. However, it is for the decision taker to determine the weight of this guidance in any individual decisions.
Local and neighbourhood Plans
The web-based resource will go fully live later this year, when the new planning practice guidance will be finalised. At this point, we expect the Secretary of State to specify that the new guidance applies only to Local or neighbourhood Plans which have not yet been submitted for examination. Any Local or neighbourhood Plans submitted before the new guidance is issued may rely on the previous guidance.
What’s changed in the draft planning practice guidance from the existing guidance?
This web-based resource has refreshed, streamlined and brought up-to-date the existing planning practice guidance to make sure that it supports national planning policy in an easily accessible way. For the first time, you can see the draft planning practice guidance together with and alongside the National Planning Policy Framework.
We have greatly reduced the volume of guidance by over 90 per cent, shortening the overall length by removing unnecessary or outdated detail, and consolidating and streamlining guidance material. We have brought together planning practice guidance which was previously published in many different and separate documents.
The draft planning practice guidance on the Beta site has been updated to reflect and support the National Planning Policy Framework, the presumption in favour of sustainable development, the introduction of neighbourhood planning and recent changes in legislation such as the Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013. We have made sure that the draft planning practice guidance is proportionate to each topic
In line with Lord Taylor’s recommendations, you will also find draft new planning practice guidance on:
- local green space designation
- environmental quality – noise, air, land, water and water supply, and light pollution
- duty to cooperate
- neighbourhood planning
What will be different on the live site?
When the web-based resource is fully launched and the final version of the national planning practice guidance is issued by the Secretary of State, this site will have been amended following the comments we have received during while the site was open for feedback.
Once the site is fully live, you will be able to comment on any of the guidance material through our feedback process.