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Last revised September 21, 2015

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 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 to assess whether the proposed development is acceptable.

There are also a number of ‘statutory consultees’ who are asked to comment on applications.

Neighbours of the site where development is proposed are notified of an application and invited to comment. Members of the public are also able to comment on any application.

The developer sets out his case for why the development should be approved; this may include non planning evidence such as the advantage of providing local employment or school places. This would be a material consideration.

The case officer then writes a report recommending approval or refusal of the proposed development.

The case officer can make the decision under ‘delegated powers’ or the decision be taken by the development control committee at their regular meetings.

If the case officer or committee decides to refuse the application, the developer can appeal against the decision.

A planning inspector will then re-examine the proposal and decide whether to overturn or support the original decision.

planning appeal can be heard in public or done by submissions in writing, this usually depends on how significant the proposals are, that is what the impact on the community of the development will be.

If the planning inspector overturns the local planning authority’s decision, the developer can then apply for his costs to be paid by LPA.

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

Bristol Core Strategy

Development Management policies