Last edited 03 Apr 2015

Duty to cooperate

Local plans are prepared by local planning authorities. They set out a framework for the future development of an area on a 15-year horizon and are the starting-point for considering whether planning applications should be approved.

The Localism Act 2011 placed a legal ‘duty to cooperate’ on local planning authorities and county councils in England, as well as some public bodies to maximise the effectiveness of local plan and marine plan preparation, including:

  • The preparation of development plan documents.
  • The preparation of other local development documents.
  • The preparation of marine plans.
  • Activities that can reasonably be considered to prepare the way for activities within these plans or documents.
  • Activities that support activities within these plans or documents.

This includes:

  • Considering whether to consult on, prepare, enter into and publish, agreements on joint approaches.
  • Considering whether to prepare joint local development documents.

Other public bodies with a duty to cooperate with local planning authorities, county councils and other bodies are prescribed in the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012 as amended by The National Treatment Agency (Abolition) and the Health and Social Care Act 2012 (Consequential, Transitional and Saving Provisions) Order 2013:

NB The Planning Officers Society has suggested that the duty to co-operate is causing too many local plans to fail and should be restricted to the strategic stage. (PLANNING FOR A BETTER FUTURE Our planning manifesto for the next government 19 February 2014)

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