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Last revised August 14, 2022

There are two main branches of planning in which the community can get involved in Bristol and through the NPN:-

  • setting out the way in which development should happen through Strategic Planning  (including doing a Neighbourhood Area Plan)
  • responding to individual development proposals through Development Management and the planning application process

Strategic Planning or Planning Policy

Planning policy shapes the way development should happen in an area. It can cover the whole country, the city of Bristol, or a site within Bristol.

It also covers transport links (road, rail, water, air, pedestrian and cycle) to work and leisure destinations in and out or within the area.

Strategic Planning sets the local plan and policies that are then used to assess whether planning applications should be approved or refused.

The government sets national policy through Acts of Parliament and guidance.

The local planning authority draws up the local plan and policies in consultation with the community and with ‘stakeholders’ such as English Heritage, adjacent authorities and their own in house officers.

Under the Localism Act 2011, communities can drawn up their own Neighbourhood Development plans and policies for their area, which can become planning policy.

read more about Bristol’s Strategic / Policy Planning

Development Management or Planning Application process

Development is ‘managed’  through the Planning Application process using the policies drawn up through the strategic planning process.

A developer applies for permission to build on a site; the case officer assembles the evidence from the local plan and policies and from other departments in the council, such as Highways, Waste Collection etc and from neighbours and local communities to assess whether the proposed development is acceptable.

read more about the Planning Application process

Further information

Pre Application process
How to Guidance: Pre App CI Checklist

National policy and guidance.

NPPF National Planning Policy Framework

NPPG National Planning Practice Guidance 

Bristol Local Plan