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Helping communities engage with planning


Local Development Plans

Local planning policies are set out in the development plan for each of the 25 local planning authority areas in Wales. If your local authority or national park authority has ‘adopted’ (approved) a development plan, you should know about the policies in it because they have an effect on planning decisions in your area. National planning policy is more likely to be relevant if proposals are very large, or if the development plan was adopted many years ago and is now out-of-date. The two main types of development plan are Unitary Development Plans and Local Development Plans.

Since 2004 each local planning authority in Wales has been required to produce a new-style Local Development Plan (or ‘LDP’). The LDP is shorter and more concise and should take less time to prepare. The LDP sets out each local planning authority’s proposals for future development and use of land in their area. The LDP will gradually replace Unitary Development Plans. Once the LDP is adopted, it will form the basis of planning decisions that the local planning authority makes. Where possible, the LDP should link in with the aims of the local Community Strategy or, in National Park areas, the National Park Management Plan.

Most local authorities are currently in the process of preparing their Local Development Plan and are at different stages in the process. The LDP can be used to decide planning applications, even while it is being prepared, as it states what the council’s future plans are for the area. The closer the planning authority is to finishing the Local Development Plan, the more weight it has in planning permission decisions.

The LDP encourages greater public involvement in plan-making than was the case with UDPs. Authorities should try to engage their communities during the very early stages of plan-making, and to consult the public at later stages (this is usually called ‘public consultation’). The aim of this is to reduce disagreements about later stages of the plan and to reassure people of where development is likely to occur in their area.

The process for preparing Local Development Plans is split up into six distinctive stages. Some of these stages, particularly the early ones, are designed to allow the public to get involved. The diagram below shows these stages:

Evidence base

Delivery Agreement

Pre-Deposit consultation

Deposit plan



Once the plan has been adopted it is monitored every year through an Annual Monitoring Report. There will also be a major review of the LDP every four years. To find out which stage your local planning authority is at in preparing a Local Development Plan for your area, please visit our local planning authority pages.

If you want to know more about Local Development Plans, please click on one of the links below:

Planning Your Community: A guide to Local Development Plans (LDPs) (a leaflet for the general public)

Local Development Plan Manual (A reference document for planners preparing LDPs)

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Planning Aid Wales is an independent, charitable organisation helping individuals and communities across Wales to participate more effectively in the planning system.

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