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Changes proposed to streamline and shorten the plan-making process

26 July 2023

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities commenced a new consultation yesterday (25 July 2023) for proposals to simplify local plans (and minerals and waste plans). The overall aim is to make plans easier to understand, faster to prepare and more accessible to the local community.

The current average timeframe to prepare a new Local Plan can be at least seven years, meaning that by the time the Plan is adopted, many of its poilcies may already be out of date. The new reforms propose a reduced timeframe of 30 months (two and a half years) whilst at the same time requiring planning authorities to start updating plans every 5 years to ensure they remain relevant.

The 30 month timeframe includes three key stages in the process:

  • 23 months - Plan visioning and strategy development, evidence gathering and drafting, engagement, proposed changes and submission
  • 6 months - Examination
  • 1 month - Finalisation and adoption.

This streamlined timeframe will no doubt require a significant amount of resources to condense the process into 30 months but the reduced timescales would certainly be a welcome change.

It is intended to phase in the new approach from autumn 2024, with a small cohort of around ten authorities preparing the new style Local Plan. Remaining authorities would be ranked chronologically by the date of their most recently adopted Plan.

Do let us know your thoughts or feel free to ask us any questions you may have.

Full details of the reforms can be found here: