Planning Terms Explained

Planning uses its own set of words, phrases and acronyms that you may not be familiar with. Here is a selection of a few of these words and their ‘planning meaning’:

Amenity has several meanings in the planning context. The main definitions in respect of planning are in respect to residential amenity, i.e. a person’s enjoyment of the property in terms of privacy, outlook, light, etc, and in respect to general amenity, i.e. a positive element that contributes to the overall character or enjoyment of an area.

AONB: Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. These are areas designated for conservation as they have significant landscape value. These areas have a level of protection from development.

Appeal: If an application is refused, the applicant has a right to appeal the decision. The appeal is dealt with by the Planning Inspectorate who appoint independent Inspectors to assess and determine the proposals.

CLD / LDC / CLEUD / CLOPUD: Certificate of Lawful Development. These are applications which seek to determine whether a development or use is ‘lawful’. If an existing use or development does not have planning permission and it should, then it can become lawful after a certain period of time has passed and a CLD can be applied for. If you would like confirmation that a proposed use or development does not require planning permission, then you can apply for a CLD for this also.

Condition: When planning permission is granted, it is usually granted with conditions limiting the time period for starting the development. Conditions can also be included requiring the submission of further details in respect of the proposed development, for example details of the materials to be used.

Development Plan: A development plan, or Local Plan, is a document produced by a local Council, which includes all the planning policies that aim to guide development. Policies can cover a range of subjects including new houses, employment, ecology, transport, etc. Planning applications are considered against the policies contained in the development plan.

Enforcement Notice: Enforcement Notices are served by local Councils if a use or development has been carried out without planning permission and the Council considers that the use or development is unacceptable. There is a right to appeal against an Enforcement Notice within 28 days of its service. Failure to comply with an Enforcement Notice once it has taken effect is a criminal offence.

Flood Zones: Flood Zones are areas of land at risk of flooding. There are three Flood Zones 1-3, with 1 being the area at lowest risk of flooding and 3 being at highest risk of flooding.

Green Belt: Green Belts are large areas of designated lands usually surrounding large cities and metropolitan areas. Land within Green Belts are subject to a great amount of protection from development in order to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open.

NPPF: National Planning Policy Framework. This is a document produced by the Government that sets out the overall aims for planning in England.

PD: Permitted  Development. Permitted development is planning permission granted by Government for certain small scale developments, such as extensions and outbuildings, subject to conforming within certain parameters. This means that such development does not need an application to be submitted. Permitted Development rights can be removed by an ‘Article 4 Direction’ or by a planning condition, and this should be checked with the local Council before proceeding with works.

Settlement/Built-Up Area Boundary: This is a line drawn on the Council’s maps that define urban areas from the countryside. Areas within settlement/built-up area boundaries are more likely to obtain planning permission for new residential development than those outside of the boundaries.

SSSI: Site of Special Scientific Interest. This is a designated area for nature conservation and are protected from development.

Subservient: This is a term used to describe an extension to a dwelling that is of a smaller scale and is respectful to an existing dwelling to which it is attached.

TPO: Tree Preservation Order. Trees which are covered by a TPO are protected for their amenity value, i.e. their removal would have a significant negative impact on the local environment and its enjoyment by the public.