Skip to content

Development Planning

Related Links

Thank you for your views on the draft Planning Bill and our proposals to modernise the Planning system in Wales.
We want your views on our detailed proposals for the new pre-application procedures that are provided for in the Planning (Wales) Bill.
We plan to make an order under section 203 of the Planning Act 2008.
Read our proposals to change the fees that accompany a planning application.
We want your views on our proposals to reform planning committees and introduce a national scheme of delegation.
We want your views on how we can support our national planning policy on design and facilitate the delivery of good design through the planning system.
This circular provides contemporary guidance and references to legislation, as well as an updated list of model conditions to promote best practice in Wales.
Tell us if you want any of the documents on this page in an alternative format.

Plan making is the most important activity undertaken within the planning system. They are essential for the effective operation of the planning system and provide the basis for fair, rational and consistent planning decisions.

National Development Framework for Wales

The Planning (Wales) Act 2015 provides a statutory requirement for the Welsh Ministers to produce and keep up-to-date a National Development Framework, which will replace the current Wales Spatial Plan. The National Development Framework will fulfil a number of roles, including setting out the Welsh Government’s land use priorities and providing a national land use framework for Strategic and Local Development Plans. The National Development Framework will concentrate on development and land use issues of national significance which the planning system is able to influence and deliver. The process of approving the Framework will include a statutory twelve week public consultation period. The National Development Framework, in line with other development plans, will have a fixed time period at the end of which it will cease to have effect as a development plan.

Strategic Development Plans

Evidence obtained from the first round of Local Development Plans has demonstrated that in some areas single local planning authorities have found it difficult to address strategic planning issues in isolation when preparing their plan. The Planning (Wales) Act provides a legal framework for the preparation of Strategic Development Plans. This will allow larger than local issues such as housing demand, search areas for strategic employment sites and supporting transport infrastructure, which cut across a number of local planning authorities, to be considered and planned for in an integrated and comprehensive way. Universal coverage of Strategic Development Plans across Wales is not necessary. The Planning (Wales) Act does not specify where Strategic Development Plans should be prepared to allow for future flexibility, although the most likely areas to benefit from this approach are the largest urban areas such as Cardiff and Swansea.

Local Development Plans

Local planning authorities have a statutory duty to prepare a Local Development Plan and keep it under review. The Planning (Wales) Act improves the Local Development Plans process and helps to ensure that they are kept up-to-date and relevant for making decisions on planning applications and appeals. The Welsh Ministers will be able to direct local planning authorities to work together to produce a joint Local Development Plan (with the exception of National Park Authorities). Plans will have a fixed time period at the end of which they cease to be the development plan for the area unless a review has been undertaken.

Development Plans and the Welsh Language

The Planning (Wales) Act requires the Welsh language to be considered as part of the Sustainability Appraisal of all documents with development plan status:  the National Development Framework, Strategic Development Plans and Local Development Plans.  This strengthens advice provided in existing policy (Technical Advice Note 20: Planning and the Welsh Language (2013)), which encourages local planning authorities to consider Welsh language issues as part of the Sustainability Appraisal.  The introduction of a National Development Framework and Strategic Development Plans will provide a mechanism for the consideration of strategic issues such as the Welsh language on a wider than local basis,  reflecting the patterns of Welsh language use in Wales.

Joint Planning Boards

To ensure robust and meaningful collaboration at local level, existing powers have been amended to create more resilient local planning authorities with extended responsibilities and access to a wider range of specialist skills. This approach is compatible with Welsh Government proposals for reform of the delivery of public services in Wales.

Planning Prospectus documents

Three planning prospectus documents were sent to the Chair of the Environment and Sustainability Committee in January 2015 to assist in the scrutiny of the Planning (Wales) Act 2015, prior to it gaining Royal Assent. The three planning prospectus documents are:

  • Planning Prospectus Overview is a summary document outlining the alignment of the planning system with the then Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Bill.
  • Planning Policy Prospectus outlines how national policy as set out in Planning Policy Wales (PPW) will be revised to align with the proposals outlined in the then Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Bill.
  • Development Plan Prospectus outlines how the development plan proposals in the then Planning (Wales) Bill align with the current development plan process and the then Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Bill.

Document Download

PDF Document (MFS)
Planning Prospectus Overview (File size: 57.6KB)
PDF Document (MFS)
Planning Policy Prospectus (File size: 49.6KB)
PDF Document (MFS)
Development Plan Prospectus (File size: 90.7KB)