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Why is the planning system important?

England’s planning system shapes new development and the use of land all over the country with the aim of achieving outcomes that are positive for people, the economy and the environment.

The system exists to ensure that the development and use of land is in the public interest, weighing up its economic, environmental and social benefits and drawbacks. It plays a key role in helping to make the places where we live and work attractive, vibrant and well designed.

The planning system can help secure development that supports regeneration and that meets the needs of local communities. It can support the provision of affordable housing and other necessary development. It can make sure that new building in historic areas takes into account the surroundings and enhances their character. And it can prevent development where it would cause unacceptable environmental damage.

Local Plans

Local Plans are a key component of the planning system.

They shape how land use and places will change and develop in the future. Planning applications need to be in line with Local Plans otherwise they are unlikely to receive planning permission. It is when Local Plans are being prepared therefore that you can have the most influence over shaping the future of your local area.

Once the Local Plan is adopted, many of the big decisions have usually been made, and your influence becomes more limited. It is therefore important that all of us – the public – and our community representatives, such as parish and town councillors, are aware of when and how to engage with Local Plans, in order to have our say about how we would like our cities, towns and villages to change and develop. If you don’t speak up, you won’t be heard!