Local Area Plans
& Development Plans

If you are a property or land owner you should have an interest in the preparation and creation of Development Plans and Local Area Plans for your locality. You should seriously consider making a submission. If your submission is valid and considered worthwhile, it will be incorporated into the plan ensuring that, for the lifespan of the plans, your idea will be an objective of the plan and any proposed development contrary to your objective will not be permitted.

A development plan sets the agenda for the development of the local authority’s area over its six-year life span. Development, whether it be residential, industrial, commercial or amenity, must generally take place in accordance with the development plan. The plan is therefore a blueprint for the economic and social development of the city, town or county for which it has been made

A Local Area Plan is a programme that co-ordinates the efforts of local residents, local businesses, builders/developers and cultural organisations with the aim of enhancing the quality of life for everyone. As part of the preparation process surrounding a local area plan or a development plan the public are asked for submissions on which the plans should be based. If you fail to make a reasoned submission for the preparation of these plans you have missed the opportunity to use your voice and your proposals can be ignored.

We can quickly assess your situation and give you an honest appraisal of your situation and an expert opinion as to how we see the situation concluding. If we feel we can’t add value to the situation we will not get involved.

The majority of people fail to realise the influence these plans have over planning policy. These plans are constantly referred to and used as the framework when making planning decisions. A submission at the plan formation stage, followed up by targeted and reasoned lobbying can very often bear fruit, thus giving you a very real influence over planning policy in your area. Whether you wish to widen a road, protect a view, make sure land is not developed, protect a building with architectural or historical merit, extend or reduce a speed limit, obtain land for a primary school or a new playground for your community, these can all be submitted and included in the policy for a Local Area Plan, or a County Development Plan. It is especially important to make a submission if you are a property owner. You need to ensure that your land is appropriately zoned, and no restrictions are being placed on your property.

During the drafting process for these plans there are many opportunities to contribute and influence the plans. The council welcomes your ideas and are very receptive to them provided they are of a certain standard. They expect the submission to consist of a high-quality presentation, with correct technical content and clear reasoning. Here at Social Housing Co. we can put your idea together for you so you can help yourself and your community have real influence on the development of your own locality.

What is a Local Area Plan?

The Local Area Plan is a legal document and is a public statement of planning policies.

It is prepared in consultation with the local community and members of the public. It sets out a strategy for the Proper Planning and Sustainable Development of an area, for example, village/town/district. The Plan seeks to provide a framework for how a town can develop. It provides some ideas as to how this development can be achieved, what new developments are needed, where public and private resource inputs are required, and some of the rules and regulations that will guide development in the district.

It is valid for six years from the date of adoption by the Council. The Plan should be compatible with both regional and national guidance documents such as the National Spatial Strategy and the Regional Planning Guidelines. The Plan will have regard to the policies and objectives of the County Development Plan. It must respond to opportunities and challenges presented by the changing economic climate and promote continued economic and social development. All planning applications will be measured against the contents of the Plan.

County Development Plans and Local Area Plans in Further Detail

The role of the Development Plan:

During its six-year life, the development plan provides one of the key policy contexts for individual planning decisions in the development plan area. This presents distinct challenges to planning authorities across the system. For example, for cities, the development plan sets out how large urban areas will develop, while county development plans set out how large geographical areas will develop. The plan will influence capital investment by both the public and private sectors, including capital projects by the local authority itself. The plan must give spatial expression to the economic, social and cultural needs of the community, in terms of influencing new development, enhancing valued amenities, and protecting the environment and heritage.

Hierarchy of plans

The development plan must be part of a systematic hierarchy of land use and spatial plans, including the National Spatial Strategy and regional planning guidelines. It must also be informed by the plans and strategies of the Government and other public agencies in general.

Box 1 indicates the broad nature of the relationships between plans at different levels covering different areas.

The development plan must provide a reasonable level of guidance for developers, the public and those involved in or responsible for making planning decisions within planning authorities. Finally, it must combine these diverse roles in an internally consistent way and in a logical and clear format.

The National Spatial Strategy

The National Spatial Strategy establishes a spatial policy framework at the national level and gives indicative land use guidance which is relevant at all levels within the planning hierarchy. The formulation of plans at other levels must give regard to and be consistent with the National Spatial Strategy.