The Local Plan for Buckinghamshire


A Local Plan shows where development can happen, and protected places where it needs to be carefully controlled.

The Local Plan is the prime consideration when determining planning applications, unless material considerations indicate otherwise. A material consideration is a matter that should be taken into account in deciding a planning application or an appeal.

It draws up rules, known as policies, for how development happens. Development policies can cover a wide range of things that development must do, such as:

  • building the right number and size of homes
  • creating good places to live, which include shops and places to play
  • contributing to the infrastructure needed to serve the homes, such as roads, schools, and health facilities
  • protecting the environment by supporting wildlife, beautiful landscapes and historic places, and managing flood risk

A Local Plan also provides an opportunity for us to set out how we intend to manage current growth issues and address new and emerging agendas.

Our requirements

We must produce a Local Plan within 5 years of coming into being (by April 2025). Having an up-to-date plan in place brings benefits for Buckinghamshire.

Local Plan aims

A Local Plan aims to deliver sustainable development through:

  • meeting the social, economic, and environmental needs of Buckinghamshire
  • better quality places
  • more comprehensive and predictable delivery of all kinds of infrastructure

It brings benefits for people who live, work, or visit here, through:

  • making sure there are enough of the right homes and workplaces
  • getting the infrastructure in the right place at the right time
  • delivering better deals from developers on the obligations arising from their proposals

It brings efficiencies for us through:

  • making prompt planning decisions
  • fewer planning appeals and so lower costs

We have done more work on these aims and how they can be met. You can see this in the work already underway.

Local Plan work already underway

We are at the beginning of the plan-making process. In August 2020, the government consulted on a Planning White Paper that proposed significant reforms to the planning system.

In May 2022, the government published the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill. It takes many of these proposed changes forward but there is still more detail to come.

There is a limit to how much progress we can make until the government has confirmed the detail and timetable for the proposed changes. However, the early engagement questionnaire and our call for sites will give us a good foundation for progress.

Early engagement questionnaire survey 2021 to 2022

We used a questionnaire survey to start early discussions and find out the issues that local residents and organisations think are important in shaping the future of the area.

The survey ended on 11 February 2022. View details of the survey and how we involved residents and other organisations in the Statement of Consultation (PDF, 770 KB).

Vision and Objectives consultation for Development and Transport for Buckinghamshire 2023

We asked the public and organisations to complete a questionnaire. This was to find out opinions on our draft Local Plan vision and objectives for Buckinghamshire up to 2040. We asked for suggested changes. The questionnaire also covered the draft vision and objectives for the Local Transport Plan 5 (LTP 5).

This draft vision and objectives were developed from responses received through the Local Plan Questionnaire Survey 2021 to 2022.

The survey ended on 4 June 2023.

The responses to this questionnaire are being considered and will inform the next stage of the Local Plan.

See the draft vision and objectives (PDF, 165 KB).

Call for sites of previously developed land (brownfield)

We've carried out 2 calls for sites and as of 31 May 2022 we've received over 300 site submissions.

View more information on how to tell us about a site for development.

Sites submitted after 26 October 2022 will not be assessed within the current draft HELAA for 2023. These will be included in our next update instead.

Wider call for sites

We finished a wider call for sites in September 2022, including greenfield sites. This will help us gather a fuller understanding of the land available for development within Buckinghamshire.

The call for sites closed on 11 September 2022. We may still consider sites submitted after that date.

Anyone can send in suggestions.

To tell us about a site see Wider call for sites.

All sites submitted through the wider call for sites (and previous calls for sites) will be technically assessed in the Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA).

Local Development Scheme

The Local Development Scheme (LDS) sets out the key planning policy documents that we will work on up to 2024 and the timetable for their completion.

Statement of Community Involvement

The Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) is a document that we must produce and keep up to date to ensure effective community involvement at all stages in the planning process. It sets out how anyone who lives, works, plays and carries out business in the Buckinghamshire Council area can be involved in local planning decisions and the preparation of planning documents.

We adopted the Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) on 7 December 2021.

Sustainability Appraisal and Habitats Regulations Assessment

We have now completed a Scoping Report for the Sustainability Appraisal (SA) of the Local Plan for Buckinghamshire (PDF, 6.38 MB).

Also completed is a Habitat Regulations Assessment Scoping Report (HRA) of the Local Plan for Buckinghamshire (PDF, 4.15 MB).

The Scoping Reports are evidence that will inform the future preparation of options for a new local plan and then the drafting of the new local plan.

Further documents

In addition to the Local Plan, we're preparing a range of Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs). These SPDs add guidance for interpreting and implementing the policies included in the legacy district council Local Plans.