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What is planning policy?

Planning policy is the development framework under which decisions on planning applications are made.

Planning policy is created at two different levels:

  • national - planning policies set by the Government through the National Planning Policy Framework
  • local - planning policies created by local planning authorities (such as us), parish councils and neighbourhood forums

National planning policy

The Government sets out its planning policies in the National Planning Policy Framework (external website) (NPPF).

The NPPF sets out government planning policies for England and how these are expected to be applied.

Key policy topics include:

  • how local plans and planning decisions should be made
  • how housing and employment should be delivered
  • approaches to transport, the Green Belt, and the environment
  • addressing matters on climate change, flooding, and the natural and historic environment

The planning practice guidance (external website) provided by the Government to support the NPPF sets out more detailed practical guidance on the implementation of national policy.

Local planning policy

To support national planning policy, we are required to produce development plans. Development plans set out planning policies for the local area, allocate areas for future development and identify areas that should be protected from development.

The development plan usually includes:

  • local plans
  • minerals and waste plans
  • neighbourhood plans

These development plans set out the framework for growth and change at the local level for a set period of time. View the documents that make up the development plan.

Local Planning Policy can be supported by other documents such as supplementary planning documents (SPDs) and other planning guidance, which you can find on our SPDs and guidance webpage.

How is local planning policy prepared?

Local plans

Local plans must be positively prepared, justified, effective and consistent with national policy in accordance with section 20 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (as amended) (external website), as well as the NPPF.

Typically, the production of a local plan follows five key stages:

  • evidence gathering and public participation
  • pre-submission publication stage (also known as the 'regulation 19' stage)
  • submission of the plan to the planning inspectorate
  • independent examination of the plan
  • inspector's report on the examination and adoption

Our statement of community involvement sets out how we engage with communities and stakeholders in preparing our plans and guidance documents.

View the Wycombe Development Plan for more information.

Minerals and waste plans

Minerals and waste plans are produced by Buckinghamshire Council. Please see the Minerals and Waste website (external website) for the adopted plan and information on how minerals and waste plans are prepared.

Neighbourhood plans

Neighbourhood plans are produced by communities to develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood and shape the development of their local area.

For more information about Wycombe's neighbourhood plans see our neighbourhood planning page.

Additional general information on neighbourhood planning (including resources on how to make a neighbourhood plan) is available on the Locality website (external website).