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Planning policy

Introduction to Planning Policy


Planning policy documents are produced to inform decisions when approving or rejecting planning applications as well as to outline a vision for when and where future development in the area should take place.

All of the planning policy documents within one local planning authority area are collectively known as the Local Plan. These documents are prepared to implement plans that help address needs and opportunities in relation to housing, the economy, community facilities and infrastructure as well as forming a basis for safeguarding the environment and securing good design.

Within Wiltshire there are a number of planning policy documents that collectively form the local plan and these document can be viewed further down the page.

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The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) is a key part of the government's reforms to make the planning system less complex and more accessible. The NPPF sets out the government's planning policies for England and how these are expected to be applied, vastly simplifying the content and reducing the quantity of planning policy pages. The NPPF acts as guidance for Wiltshire Council both in drawing up plans and making decisions about planning applications.

To support the NPPF the government produced National Planning Practice Guidance (NPPG) which is published and regularly updated online. The NPPG adds further context to the NPPF and replaces thousands of pages of guidance that was previously published in separate documents.

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Latest News

Please see below information on selected recent news that we feel may be of interest to you.

Local planning authorities are legally required to co-operate with each other over issues that cross administrative boundaries. 

Wiltshire Council and Swindon Borough Council are working together on an ongoing basis and in 2017 produced the Swindon and Wiltshire Joint Spatial Framework: Issues Paper.  The intention was for the Joint Spatial Framework to guide the overall pattern of development across the wider area of the two councils, setting out a distribution of new jobs, homes and infrastructure to inform the councils’ individual local plan reviews.

Following this, the revised NPPF was published, within which there is a raised profile for Statements of Common Ground. The revised NPPF now requires local authorities to “maintain one or more statements of common ground, documenting the cross-boundary matters being addressed and progress in cooperating to address these” (paragraph 27). The PPG outlines what a statement of common ground should contain and explains that it should be “maintained on an on-going basis throughout the plan making process”.

A statement of common ground can identify matters that are agreed, yet to be agreed or further information that is required before matters can be agreed. It should identify those areas where cooperation is required to deliver the strategic policies of both authorities. To this extent it will cover many of the elements previously intended to be included within the Swindon and Wiltshire Joint Spatial Framework.

A Statement of Common Ground should, therefore, be prepared between Wiltshire and Swindon to confirm the extent of joint working between the two authorities, including whether:

  • the proposed housing requirements for Swindon Borough Council and Wiltshire Council can be accommodated within each authority’s boundaries and if not the extent of the shortfall in provision;
  • the proposed employment land requirement identified in the Swindon and Wiltshire FEMAA can be accommodated within each authority’s boundaries and if not the extent of the shortfall in provision; and
  • there are other cross boundary strategic issues that should be addressed through joint working including infrastructure provision to support growth.

The Statement of Common Ground should be subject to ongoing review. The scope of the Joint Spatial Framework will be determined by the Statement of Common Ground. It may be reduced in scope compared to that previously proposed, for example, it may only focus on employment land and infrastructure delivery.

On the dates specified, Swindon Borough Council Cabinet (20 March) and Wiltshire Council Cabinet (26 March) met to consider, in part, each revised Local Development Scheme. At each meeting endorsement was received for the preparation of a Statement of Common Ground between Swindon Borough Council and Wiltshire Council to inform the matters to be addressed in a Joint Spatial Framework.

Further information can be found on the Swindon and Wiltshire Joint Spatial Framework page.

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Last autumn Wiltshire and Swindon began a review of their Local Plans in the form of a consultation on the issues to be considered to plan for the period to 2036. The consultation was in accordance with the authorities respective Local Development Schemes and based on national guidance contained in the National Planning Policy Framework 2012.

Since then, in July 2018, the Government published a revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF2018). The Wiltshire Local Plan/Swindon Borough Plan will now be prepared in accordance with this latest policy and the introduction of a standard methodology for calculating how many new homes to plan for.

This has resulted in a change from the programme included in the Local Development Scheme published in 2017.
A provisional high-level programme for the review of the Wiltshire Local Plan is set out on the Local Plan Review page, focusing on consultations and statutory stages of plan making. This is a programme which remains coordinated with that of Swindon Borough Council for the review of their local plan.

It is anticipated that a formal update to the Local Development Scheme will be considered by the Council’s Cabinet in early 2019 drawing on the outputs of the continuing joint working with Swindon Borough Council.

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Following the Issues and Options Consultation in November – December 2017, a number of parish events were held in October 2018 to help develop our thinking further on planning for new homes to 2036. Specifically, the events helped to address the following questions:

  1. How can approximately 44,000 homes be distributed across Wiltshire, with a focus on Wiltshire’s market towns and principal settlements, to maintain the role and function of those places and promote sustainable development?
  2. How can policies within the Local Plan support proportionate housing growth outside named market towns and principal settlements (the rural area) and support the role of neighbourhood plans?

A report on the events can be found on the Local Plan Review webpage.

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Masterplan for The Maltings and Central Car Park, Salisbury endorsed

On 19 June 2019 Wiltshire Council’s Strategic Planning Committee endorsed the masterplan for the redevelopment of The Maltings and Central Car Park, Salisbury. The masterplan provides a clear approach for how the site is to be redeveloped over the coming years.

The masterplan for The Maltings and Central Car Park can be viewed and downloaded here

Any queries should be made to Major Projects on 01722 434354 or by email to majorprojects@wiltshire.gov.uk

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Wiltshire Council is consulting on a Draft Trowbridge Bat Mitigation Strategy Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), which has been prepared to support the Draft Wiltshire Housing Site Allocations Plan and the Wiltshire Core Strategy.

It is a strategy for considering the impacts of development in the Trowbridge area on the Bath and Bradford on Avon Bats Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and sets out an approach for mitigation to avoid significant adverse impacts.

Consultation documents

The Draft Trowbridge Bat Mitigation Strategy SPD can be viewed and downloaded via the supporting documents tab in the consultation portal, further information on how to comment can be found below.

Hard copies of these documents will also be available during normal opening hours at: Trowbridge, Bradford on Avon and Westbury libraries; and the main Council office in Trowbridge (County Hall).

How to comment

Comments are invited on the Draft Trowbridge Bat Mitigation Strategy SPD from Thursday 21 February until 5pm Thursday 21 March 2019.

Comments can be made:

If responding by post, please use the comment forms that are available here and from the listed libraries above and the Trowbridge Council office (County Hall).

Next steps and further information

All comments received during the consultation period will be taken into consideration before the SPD is finalised and presented to the Council’s Cabinet and subsequently Full Council for adoption.

Should you require further information on the consultation, please email: spatialplanningpolicy@wiltshire.gov.uk or telephone 01225 713223.

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As part of the ongoing Local Plan Review work taking place, following the initial scoping consultation held in 2017, an Employment Land Review 2017 has been prepared to inform the review of the Wiltshire Core Strategy. It updates the Wiltshire Workspace and Employment Land Strategy published in 2011.  There will be an opportunity to comment on the content of the report as part of the next Local Plan Review consultation. More information on the Local Plan Review can be found on the following webpage.

You can view and download the 2017 Employment Land Review by following the links below:

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Wiltshire Council undertook a survey amongst residential boaters on the Kennet and Avon Canal in the summer of 2017. The purpose of the survey was to improve information on the accommodation needs of boaters. The below report will form part of the evidence base for the Wiltshire Local Plan review which is now underway and scheduled to conclude in 2021, as set out in the 2017 Local Development Scheme which can be accessed here.

  • Read the Boaters Survey here

Comments or questions can be directed to the Spatial Planning Team at 01225 713223 or spatialplanningpolicy@wiltshire.gov.uk.

For further information on gypsy and traveller documents, please visit our Gypsy and Traveller webpage.

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There are strict regulations on what personal information we can collect and store, how we can use and process that personal data, who we are allowed to share with, and who we must pass data to when ordered to do so.

You have rights in respect of your data which include the right to request your personal information from us; we must reply to you within strict timescales giving you the information you asked for, or tell you why we cannot give it to you.

Economic Development and Planning at Wiltshire Council take your privacy very seriously and will keep your personal data secure. To view our Privacy Notice and Data Subject Information Notice please visit our Data Protection webpage.

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Local Plan

The Local Plan acts as a critical tool in guiding decisions about individual development proposals, with the Local Plan acting as the starting-point for considering whether applications can be approved.

In Wiltshire, the Local Plan includes the Wiltshire Core Strategy incoporating saved policies from district local plans, Chippenham Site Allocations Plan, Minerals and Waste Plans and made Neighbourhood Plans.

Emerging Plans

A number of plans are currently in preparation, you can find information on the latest progress of these plans through the links below. Plans currently in preparation include:

  • Wiltshire Housing Site Allocations Plan (WHSAP)
  • Wiltshire Local Plan Review (LPR) including Swindon & Wiltshire Joint Spatial Framework (JSF)
  • Neighbourhood Plans (NP)

Other Planning Documents & Information

Within this section you will find information on a range of other documents that are produced by Wiltshire Council along with useful information including:

On this page you will find the following information:

  • Strategic Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment: Information on how to submit a site is also contained on this webpage.
  • Housing Land Supply Statement
  • Housing Land Availability Report
  • Infrastructure Delivery Plan
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The brownfield land register sets out previously developed land that a local planning authority considers appropriate for residential development.

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The Wiltshire LDS sets out the Development Plan Documents (DPDs) prioritised for production by Wiltshire Council and the timetable for their preparation that will, when complete, together with other adopted documents, comprise the Local Plan for Wiltshire.

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National legislation and policy require councils in England to provide for the accommodation needs of travellers. Further information on any Gypsy and Traveller planning policies and assessments can be found via this webpage.

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The SCI sets out the process and methods for community involvement for different types of plans and for different stages of plan preparation.

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In May 2015, the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) came into force locally in Wiltshire. We adopted a CIL charging schedule, Regulation 123 list, Planning Obligations Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) and an instalments policy for the payment of CIL.

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Economic Development and Planning at Wiltshire Council take your privacy very seriously and will keep your personal data secure. Our data protection page contains information on how and why Spatial Planning may collect and process your personal data in our role as a data controller.

Our data protection page enables you to view our Privacy Statement and Data Subject Information Notice.

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Last updated: 29 July 2019 | Last reviewed: 29 July 2019