The Local Plan 2023-2040

Whilst the current adopted Local Plan for West Lancashire is the Local Plan 2012-2027, national policy requires us to regularly appraise the Plan, and where necessary update it.

In 2016, we began the Local Plan Review (to 2050) which was intended to guide development for 38 years, from 2012 to 2050.  However, this plan was effectively 'withdrawn' in September 2019. 

We started preparing a new Local Plan in autumn 2019.  Work was suspended in September 2020 because of the Covid pandemic and its impact on Council resources.  In March 2021, the Council's Cabinet gave the go-ahead for work on the Plan to resume.


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:

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:


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.  There are a number of stages involved and we expect the process to take about three years.  Progress will be reported each year through our Annual Monitoring Report.  Cabinet approved the latest LDS in September 2021.


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.  The SoCG sets out how we are co-operating with our neighbours in the Liverpool City Region.  It helps demonstrate that we are fulfilling the 'Duty to Co-operate' and that plans are deliverable, based on joint working across local authority boundaries.