The Local Plan 2023-2040

Scope, Issues & Options consultation

We consulted on the 'Scope, Issues and Options' for the new West Lancashire Local Plan 2023-2040 from November 2021 to January 2022.  We are processing the material received and will consider the points made as we prepare the next stage of the Plan. 


What is a Local Plan and why do we need one?

A Local Plan sets the planning policy for an area (in this case West Lancashire) to:

  • allocate land for specific types of development;
  • protect certain areas of land from development (e.g. nature conservation sites); and
  • guide decisions on planning applications and future new development.

The Local Plan also needs to be in line with wider policies, including:

The current adopted Local Plan for West Lancashire is the Local Plan 2012-2027 (and the Burscough Parish Neighbourhood Plan also applies in Burscough).

National planning policy requires local authorities to assess their Local Plans every 5 years to make sure they keep up to date with changes, whether locally or nationally.  In late 2019, we assessed the current adopted Local Plan, using a government-approved 'toolkit'.  We concluded that a number of aspects of the Plan needed updating.  The results of this assessment can be downloaded below:

We started preparing a new Local Plan in autumn 2019.  


Timetable for preparing the Plan

The Local Development Scheme (LDS) sets out our anticipated timetable for preparing a new Local Plan and associated local planning policy documents.  Progress will be reported each year through our Annual Monitoring Report.  Cabinet approved the last LDS in March 2022.


Evidence informing the Plan

A Local Plan must be informed by, and based upon, evidence. The Council collect and prepare a wide range of information to provide this evidence, with topics including housing, employment, renewable energy, biodiversity, flood risk, climate change, transport, land availability and population change. Some of the evidence collected in the last few years is still relevant and can be found through the link below. Some evidence needs to be updated or collected and we will publish this information as it becomes available.


Working with other organisations

National planning policy requires us to produce and maintain a Statement of Common Ground (SoCG) to show how we're working with neighbouring Councils and other organisations to consider issues that extend beyond West Lancashire. 

As we prepare the new Local Plan, we will have dialogue with our neighbours and other organisations, and expect to prepare other SoCGs in due course.

The Liverpool City Region SoCG sets out how we are co-operating with our neighbours in Merseyside.