What is the current state of planning policy
Firstly, find out whether your council already has up to date local plans, whether they are preparing any detailed planning documents eg for specific part of the authority’s area or if they are undertaking a review of any of their planning documents.
Planning documents can have a variety of titles but whatever they are called they must be published on the web.
How to find out what Planning Policies support food growing and other food issues in your area
- Look at “adopted” policies. These are the ones that guide the decision taking on planning applications.
- Terms to look for are the “development plan”, the “local plan”, “local development framework”, “Core Strategy”, and detailed documents such as for “development management”. They will have different names depending on their age. You may find an older version, so keep checking these terms. Newer policies (or, confusingly, very old policies) may be called “Local Plan”.
- Some councils produce their own plans, others work jointly with neighbouring authorities.
- Look at forthcoming planning policies. These may be listed in pages covering: “Consultations”, “Local Plan” or “Local Development Framework” (LDF).
- Read the adopted (approved) policy documents. They may be also be titled as “Development Plan Documents”. The higher level, strategic, policies may be in a “Core Strategy”. Newer policies may be called “Local Plan”.
- Detailed planning policies which provide criteria for new developments are sometimes produced separately in “Development Management Policies”.
- Open the document and search on key words for specific references such as Community garden, community food, grow food, growing food, food grow, growing spaces, urban agriculture, local food, productive landscapes, edible planting, food production, community farm, urban farm, urban food, sustainable food production, community farms, communal gardens.
- If you cannot find a specific policy, see if there is an “Allotments” policy which may give a clue to the attitude to food growing albeit on dedicated sites or look for any other locally used term for community food growing space.
- If there are no specific policies, there may be compatible policies under “Green Infrastructure”, “open space”, “amenity open space”, “green roof”.
- Double check using the associated words – Boxed text does not always show up on a search.