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Planning policy

Our planning policy team are responsible for a range of policy matters including the Local Plan.

The Local Plan (2012-2027) Development Plan

Under planning law, planning applications are to be judged against the development plan for the area, unless material considerations indicate otherwise. The current development plan is the West Lancashire Local Plan 2012-2027, adopted in October 2013. It sits alongside the National Planning Policy Framework and supplementary planning documents and guidance.

The Local Plan Review

It is important to ensure that the Local Plan is maintaining a supply of deliverable sites for new development, and that the supply enables the demand and need for different types of new development to be met in a flexible way. In addition, national planning policy is always changing. Therefore - whilst the current Local Plan is by no means out-of-date - we are starting a Local Plan Review to identify which Local Plan policies need updating in light of new evidence or changes to national policy. This will lead to the preparation of a new Local Plan.


If you wish to be kept informed of the latest planning policy consultation and news, you can register on our consultation database using the link below.  There is no consultation taking place at present on WLBC planning policy documents.

Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)

The council have adopted a charging schedule for the 'Community Infrastructure Levy' (commonly called 'CIL') for West Lancashire. CIL allows local authorities in England and Wales to raise funds from developers who are undertaking new building projects in their area. The money can be used to pay for a wide range of infrastructure that is needed as a result of development. This can include things like transport schemes, green spaces and the maintenance of new infrastructure.

It means that from 1 September 2014, developments that meet the requirements for CIL will need to pay a charge on commencement of development. 

CIL is administered using a set process, and there are penalties where the relevant notices and forms are not received, not received on time, or where the information supplied is inaccurate. Applicants and developers should understand all the requirements of CIL. 

Infrastructure Delivery

As part of the Local Plan preparation, the Council identified a range of infrastructure required to support the growth of the Borough. A database of infrastructure projects, called the Infrastructure Delivery Schedule (IDS), is maintained by the Council and updated on (at least) an annual basis. The IDS is used to help inform how CIL monies should be prioritised for spending. Further information can be found using the links below.

Local Development Orders

Local Development Orders (LDOs) are made by the Council and give a grant of planning permission to specific types of development within a defined area. LDOs streamline the planning process by removing the need for developers to make a planning application to the local planning authority. We adopted three LDOs in March 2016, for sites in Skelmersdale: Findon, the former Digmoor Sports Centre and Delf Clough.

Self and Custom Build

If you are interested in building your own home, you can join our Self-Build Register from 1 April 2016.

Neighbourhood Plans

Communities have the right to prepare neighbourhood plans, enabling them to have a say in the future of the places where they live and work. Communities can use neighbourhood plans to choose where they want development to go, what buildings should look like, and what infrastructure should be provided. They can also be used to grant planning permission for those buildings they wish to see go ahead.  We have received an application from Burscough Parish Council to create a neighbourhood plan. 

Gypsy and Traveller accommodation

The Council has suspended preparation of the Provision for Traveller Sites Development Plan Document (DPD) but will look at the matter of identifying and allocating sites when it reviews the Local Plan. In the meantime, Policy DE4 of the West Lancashire Replacement Local Plan 2001-2016 remains part of the development plan for the borough.

Masterplans, SPDs and development briefs

The Yew Tree Farm Masterplan Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) provides development guidance for the strategic site at Yew Tree Farm, Burscough, allocated in the Local Plan. In 2014, we adopted two development briefs for sites at Firswood Road, Skelmersdale and Grove Farm, Ormskirk. In October 2015, we adopted an SPD on development in the Green Belt.

Evidence and research and other policy matters

The policy team are responsible for evidence and research, including the analysis of census data, project implementation and special policies and projects.

West Lancashire Highways and Transport Masterplan

This document has been prepared and adopted by Lancashire County Council, but ties into our Local Plan and CIL. More information can be found on the West Lancashire Highways and Transport Masterplan pages (external link). 

Other news