'FAQs' or Frequently Asked Questions about the Central Lancashire Local Plan


  1. What is a Local Plan?

A Local Plan is a plan for the future development of a local area. It is produced by the relevant local planning authority (LPA) in consultation with the community. In some cases Local Plans are produced jointly by more than one LPA.

  1. Why have a Local Plan?

The Government requires local plans to be produced because it says the planning system should be genuinely plan-led, it helps the LPA ensure development is in the interests of the residents of the area and within the principle of sustainable development.

  1. What does a Local Plan do?

A Local Plan provides the vision and overall strategy for the future of the area, by setting out strategic policies for the priorities for the development and use of land. It often also contains more detailed (or non-strategic) policies for specific areas, neighbourhoods or types of development. The policies in a local plan are also important because they are used when planning applications are determined/decided on.

  1. Where is Central Lancashire?

Central Lancashire comprises the administrative areas of Preston, South Ribble and Chorley councils, see our map on the About page.

  1. What is the Central Lancashire Local Plan?

The Central Lancashire Local Plan comprises a number of documents, the most important of which are the Central Lancashire Core Strategy (2012) and each individual local plan document for Preston, South Ribble and Chorley councils.

The Core Strategy sets out the vision, objectives and spatial strategy for the development of central Lancashire to 2026 and includes policies on key issues: housing, transport, business and industry and the environment.

Each of the councils’ local plans identify the scale of development required in their area and allocates sites to meet their development needs in order to achieve the vision for growth as outlined in the Core Strategy. They also identify key local issues and provide a set of policies to manage change which are used to determine planning applications.

  1. So why is the central Lancashire Local Plan being reviewed?

The Central Lancashire Core Strategy was adopted in 2012 and the local plans for all three Central Lancashire authorities were adopted in 2015. Government legislation requires policies in development plans to be reviewed to assess if they need to be updated at least once every five years, and they should then be updated as necessary.

  1. What would happen if a Local Plan wasn’t produced?

Without an up-to-date Local Plan, Central Lancashire could be subject to speculative development proposals. These proposals may result in unsustainable, unplanned piecemeal development across the borough without the required supporting infrastructure. There’s also a risk that if an up to date local plan is not produced, central government may intervene and take over the writing of the local plan. This would mean we would have no control over what development is imposed across Central Lancashire, and residents would not get a say. 

  1. Why are the three councils working together - would it be easier to produce their own plans?

Government requires local planning authorities and county councils to cooperate with each other and with other relevant bodies on strategic matters which cross administrative boundaries.

The three council areas in Central Lancashire (comprising Preston, South Ribble and Chorley) function as one integrated local economy and commuting area. It is a single housing market area with high levels of self-containment, or families moving within the area. It is therefore appropriate to work strategically in collaboration to ensure policy is joined up and complementary. The three local authorities have a track record of working in partnership to produce local plans to inform land use and deliver strategic objectives, and they have committed to working collaboratively to produce a joint local plan.

  1. What is the Central Lancashire Local Plan Team?

The Central Lancashire Local Plan Team is a team of officers that has been established to undertake the work involved with the Local Plan review to deliver a joint Local Plan.

  1. What is the Joint Advisory Committee?

A special Central Lancashire Strategic Planning Joint Advisory Committee has also been established, made-up of elected members from each authority. This committee has the responsibility to consider proposals, open them up to debate and move to endorse or challenge them at their discretion.

  1. Who decides if the Central Lancashire Plan is acceptable?

An independent Planning Inspector will examine the plan through a formal Examination in Public to assess if it has been prepared in accordance with legal and procedural requirements, and whether it is ‘sound’. Following the examination the Inspector makes recommendations to the Secretary of State and local planning authority about whether the local plan should be adopted or any changes made. If changes are required further consultation is necessary. If the plan can be adopted, that would need to formally decided by the three councils.

  1. What stage is the review of the Local Plan at?

The review of the Local Plan is in its early stages with a “Call for Sites” currently underway.

  1. What is the 'Call for Sites'?

The 'Call for Sites' is an important part of the process of preparing the Central Lancashire Local Plan. It is a consultation which allows anyone to put forward sites in Central Lancashire which might have the potential to be developed for a particular use. The Call for Sites will run until Friday 9th November 2018, after which all sites submitted will be assessed on the basis of their suitability, deliverability and achievability for development.

  1. How long will the review of the Local Plan take?

It is intended that the review of the Local Plan will be completed and a new Local Plan adopted by winter 2020. A timetable highlighting the key stages of the process is available to view on our website.

Updated on 25 September 2018