Buckinghamshire Local Plan

Local Plan

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 five years of coming into being, that is, by April 2025. Having an up-to-date plan in place brings benefits for Buckinghamshire.

Local Plan aims

It 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

Current progress

We are at the beginning of the plan-making process. In August 2020, the government consulted on a Planning White Paper which proposes very significant reforms to the planning system. You can read our response to the consultation.

Until the government has firmed up the detail and timetable for the proposed changes, there is a limit to how much progress we can make. As soon as we know more, we will move into action as promptly as possible.

In 2021, we expect to open conversations with Buckinghamshire residents and all sorts of stakeholders about the issues we need to consider for the plan and what ambitions the plan should be setting for the future.

Call for sites of previously developed land (brownfield)

Our first step is to look for land that could be reused, mainly for homes. Our call for brownfield sites starts on 16 February and lasts until 5pm on the 6 April 2021.

Anyone can send in suggestions and it really helps us if you can include as much detail as possible.

Local Development Scheme

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

As well as the Buckinghamshire Local Plan, we are also completing the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan process.

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 are consulting on a draft SCI from February to April 2021 and expect to adopt the final SCI later in the year.

Other documents we are working on

As well as a Local Plan, we are preparing a range of Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs). These SPDs add guidance for the interpretation and implementation of policies in the Local Plans that are still in operation from the legacy District Councils.