Last edited 25 Mar 2015

Development management

Development management is the process of pro-actively managing development in a local area to achieve the local planning vision and objectives. It has an emphasis on the pre-application stage and delivering sustainable development, and includes the principles of ‘place-shaping' as recommended by the Lyons Inquiry into local government, ‘Place-shaping: a shared ambition for the future of local government’ published in 2007.

The introduction of development management was an attempt to change the culture of planning from the previous process of ‘development control’.

Development control was considered to place too much emphasis on processing and controlling planning applications and using enforcement powers. This was seen as a negative process that was reactive rather than proactive. Development management is intended to be more customer-focussed, positive, proactive and inclusive, developing problem-solving partnerships and delivering development that enhances social, economic and environmental conditions.

The Planning Advisory Service suggest that:

Development management is the term that has been coined to include the range of activities and interactions that together transform the 'control of development and the use of land' into a more positive and proactive process that:

  • fits better with the ethos of spatial planning and
  • better supports local authorities in their role as place shapers.

‘Ways of working need to reflect a desire to make planning consideration a tool for achieving better outcomes rather than a test of adequacy.’

Ref Planning Advisory Service, The culture of development management, 2013.

Development management policies form part of a local authority’s local plan. They are a suite of detailed policies intended to ensure that the vision and objectives set out in the local plan are achieved and helping determine which developments should be granted planning permission where site-specific provisions have not been set out in the local plan.

Development management policies are prepared by the local authority in consultation with developers and other stakeholders. Following a period of consultation, they are submitted to the Secretary of State for examination.

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