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How to understand local planning policy documents

Policies are the formally agreed statements which are used to determine planning applications or guide new development. They will have a policy number and may be printed in bold, or be shaded or be in a box to highlight the text. Policies are not statements of good intent. They should be capable of being delivered and be evidence based.

Policies will be supported by explanatory text. This does not have the status of the policy but offers clarification.

It is useful for you to know about local planning policy if you are recommending wording for planning policies to protect and provide space for community food growing. Sustain members, The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, has produced an online support for communities to get involved in planning. The section on Local Plans explains what a local plan is and how to get involved.  and specifically,

Planning policies exist to:

  • set out requirements in advance for new development in an area – after all, planning is about the future
  • inform and guide decisions on planning applications
  • ensure that the multitude of individual decisions add up to something coherent for the area as a whole.

Without planning policies every planning decision would be made in isolation. This would make it very hard to achieve collective aims – such as open countryside free of buildings or good design for housing and other developments. Planning policies also ensure that individual developments meet a range of minimum requirements. Extract from “Writing Planning Policies”, Tony Burton, Locality

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Planning Food Cities: Find out how to get involved shaping the future of your local area to create a more sustainable and local food system.

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