Development plan documents

Development Plan Documents (DPDs) are planning policy documents which make up the Local Plan. They help to guide development within a local planning authority area by setting out the detailed planning policies, which planning officers use to make their decisions on planning applications.

DPDs were introduced as part of the reforms made to the planning system through the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.

The Localism Act 2011 and the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012 provide the most up-to-date legislation in relation to Local Plans and DPDs.

Pendle's DPDs

In Pendle the Council has indicated that three DPDs will make up the Local Plan for the Borough. The table below provides a summary of the purpose and status of Pendle's DPDs.




Core Strategy

The principal development plan document specified in UK planning law.

The key local component of the statutory Development Plan. It seeks to promote sustainable development and growth throughout Pendle.

All other planning policy documents must build on the principles set-out in the Core Strategy, regarding the development and use of land in the Borough.

Its strategic objectives accord with the goals established in the Sustainable Community Strategy. 


Adopted December 2015

Site Allocations and Development Policies

Sets out the Council's proposed site allocations for future development and any other planning designations that are used to guide development in the Borough.

Also includes detailed planning policies, which help to deliver the strategic objectives established in the Core Strategy.

Together with the Core Strategy it will make up the new Pendle Local Plan. 

Options Stage (Reg. 18)


Bradley Area Action Plan

To provide detailed planning guidance to promote development that assists in the regeneration of the inner urban ward of Bradley in Nelson.

Adopted June 2011

The Development Plan for Pendle also includes any adopted Neighbourhood Plans. In Pendle, we have:

How is a DPD prepared?

Government regulations establish the process that must be followed in the preparation of a DPD. The key stages in this process are summarised below:

Stage 1 - Preparation of a local plan (Regulation 18)

This stage normally requires a two-step process:

1) Issues and Options - Usually represents the first stage in the process. The purpose is to engage with local residents and relevant organisations to identify how planning policy can be used positively to help address key issues within the local authority area.

2) Preferred Options - Takes any issues that have been highlighted and identifies the preferred approach for addressing these through planning policy. The purpose of the ensuing public consultation is to allow interested parties an opportunity to indicate if, on balance, they feel that the DPD takes the right approach to dealing with these issues or, if not, to highlight an alternative approach.

Stage 2 - Publication of a local plan (Regulation 19)

The Publication Report represents what the Council considers to be the final version of the DPD. The public consultation at this stage is no longer concerned with shaping the content of the document, but allows interested parties to comment on whether they consider it to be sound - i.e. justified and legally compliant.

Stage 3 - Submission of documents and information to the Secretary of State (Regulation 22)

Following the public consultation on the Publication Report (Stage 2), the DPD, together with all supporting documents and any comments that have been received, are submitted to the Secretary of State for examination by an independent Inspector. This represents the start of the Examination period.

Stage 4 - Independent Examination (Regulation 24)

Following submission a Programme Officer is appointed to organise and the Examination under the direction and guidance of the Inspector.

For a complex document like the Core Strategy it is almost certain that a number of hearing sessions will be necessary to allow interested parties to comment on the key issues.

To ensure that the hearing sessions are held in accordance with the guiding principles of openness, fairness and impartiality they are likely to be preceded by a pre-hearing meeting, where the Inspector will outline the purpose of each of the hearing sessions that has been arranged.

Hearing sessions or round-table discussions are usually informal and led by the Inspector, to allow for a concentrated discussion of the issues involved. They provide those not familiar with the examination process with the opportunity to present their arguments in a relaxed setting.

Other formats that the Inspector may employ include:

Written representations: For the Inspector, written representations are a very efficient method of considering representations. Inspectors are experienced in reaching decisions on the basis of an exchange of written statements. Where necessary, the Inspector can seek clarification of matters raised in written representations by writing to the parties involved, inviting further comments on specific issues.

Formal hearing sessions: The traditional inquiry procedure has been adapted to become a formal hearing, where the Inspector leads the process in an inquisitorial manner. Advocates are permitted to be present to assist in the proper testing of evidence

Stage 5 - Adoption of a local plan (Regulation 26)

Once the examination process is complete, the Inspector will present his/her findings to the Council in the form of a report.

Assuming that the DPD has been found sound, adoption is the final stage of putting it in place. This requires confirmation by a meeting of the Full Council [Regulation 4(1) and (3) of the Local Authorities (Functions and Responsibilities) (England) Regulations 2000].

On adopting a DPD, the local planning authority has to make a copy of the DPD, an adoption statement and the Sustainability Appraisal publicly available in line with regulations 26 and 35 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012.

While the local planning authority is not legally required to adopt a DPD following examination, it expected that the Council will proceed quickly with adopting any plan that has been found sound.