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Explaining development briefs

The terms 'development briefs', 'planning briefs', 'design briefs' and 'master plans' are often used interchangeably.

The development briefs for the reserve sites will include a masterplan. A masterplan is a layout showing what will happen where - where housing will be built, which areas will be kept as open space, where the best access points are and so on.

Development briefs are documents prepared in advance of an application for development being submitted. They are generally only prepared on large complex sites. Development briefs should set out clearly and simply the kind of place that should be created.

Development briefs can be highly detailed or more general in nature. The level of detail in a development brief can vary, depending on a range of factors. When a development brief is adopted by the council it becomes a more powerful tool in influencing the outcome of any future planning application. The council will only adopt a brief - regardless of who had prepared it - when it agrees with everything in the brief. The closer a planning application is to an adopted development brief the more likely it is to obtain planning permission. It is important to understand that a development brief does not itself grant planning permission, it is simply a template for a future application.

How development briefs are prepared

Preparation of development briefs for each reserve site is a collaborative process between the council, the developers and the public through the liaison groups. The development briefs will be worked up over multiple iterations. The developer's team will be assembling the text and drawings, influenced by dialogue between the interested parties. We will rigorously check and edit the drafts. We would only adopt a development brief if we are happy with its content. Any development brief that has not been adopted by the council would have limited influence on future decision making.

Contact information


  • Telephone: 01494 421 158