Last edited 26 Oct 2020

Local development framework LDF

Local Development Frameworks (LDF) were introduced under the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. They were a set of documents prepared by a local planning authority which set out the spatial planning strategy for the local area, describing a vision for the area addressing the needs and opportunities in relation to housing, the economy, infrastructure and amenities. They also provided the basis for planning authorities to determine planning applications.

They replaced the previous system of county level structure plans, district level local plans, and unitary authority level unitary development plans, which were considered too difficult to change. Local Development Frameworks created a more flexible portfolio of documents that could be easily updated.

Local Development Frameworks consisted of:

Local Development Frameworks were prepared in line with a Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) until it was announced that they would be abolished in 2010.

However, the Localism Act 2011, and the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), introduced in 2012, consolidated the plan preparation process, replacing the term 'Local Development Framework' with the term 'Local Plan'. Rather confusingly however, both terms appear to continue in use, and the term ‘Development Plan Documents’ can also be used to describe the Local Plan.

Local Plans are prepared by one or more district planning authorities, setting out a framework for the future development of an area on a 15-year horizon. They define; the priorities for an area, strategic policies, the framework for neighbourhood plans, land allocations, infrastructure requirements, housing needs, requirements for safeguarding the environment, measures for adapting to climate change and so on. Local Plans are also the starting-point for considering whether planning applications should be approved. As with the Local Development Frameworks, Local Plans may be made up of a range of separate documents.

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