Evidence Base

The decisions we make have to be based on evidence. Whether it's the number of houses we need to deliver, or the type of design features we will require in new buildings, evidence is essential for a Local Plan.  The evidence we have collected to date can be found below.

Some of the evidence below was compiled whilst preparing the (now-abandoned) Local Plan Review in 2017-18.  Some of these studies remain up-to-date; some will be superseded as we prepare evidence for the new Local Plan.  Dates are added to relevant documents so you can see when they were prepared.


Housing and Employment

Strategic Housing and Employment Land Availability Assessment

The Strategic Housing and Employment Land Availability Assessment (SHELAA) considers the suitability and the potential for future development of various sites submitted to the Council.


Strategic Housing and Employment Land Market Assessment 2018

The Liverpool City Region Strategic Housing and Employment Land Market Assessment (SHELMA) looks at future needs for housing and employment land.  It was completed in 2018 and published in early 2019.


Housing and Economic Development Needs Assessment 2017

The Housing and Economic Development Needs Assessment 2017 (HEDNA) uses information from government statistics (e.g. household projections) and from experts in fields such as employment forecasting to come up with an objectively-assessed need for housing and employment land in West Lancashire from 2017-37.  

A new, updated HEDNA (started in 2020) is being prepared, but is not yet complete. 


Affordable and Specialist Housing Needs Study 2018

This document looks at the needs for affordable housing, older people's housing, and accommodation for caravan and houseboat dwellers.  An updated affordable and specialist housing needs study (part of the 2020 HEDNA) is being prepared but is not yet complete.


Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment 2017

This document sets out the accommodation needs from 2017-2037 of Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople in West Lancashire.


Retail and Leisure Study 2018

This document looks at current and future needs for retail and commercial / leisure floorspace in West Lancashire.


Infrastructure and Services

Infrastructure Delivery Plan 2018

The Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP) provides important background evidence regarding the infrastructure required to support development in the Borough.  It provides information on both current delivery and anticipated future requirements. We prepare it by working closely with infrastructure and service providers - including United Utilities, the Environment Agency and Lancashire County Council. The most recent IDP updates are provided below. 

We will be updating the IDP as we progress with the new Local Plan 2023-2040. This will again be in two stages: Stage 1 looks at current infrastructure provision; Stage 2 will look at future infrastructure provision in conjunction with the Local Plan Preferred Options (which we have not yet determined).

The Infrastructure Delivery Schedule

The Infrastructure Delivery Schedule (IDS) is a list of all those projects required to support new development across the Borough. The latest IDS is published in conjunction with our CIL Infrastructure Funding Statement


The Sustainable Settlement Study 2021

The Sustainable Settlement Study 2021 looks at the different services and facilities in the various towns and villages in West Lancashire, and proposes a 'hierarchy' of settlements.


Green Infrastructure and Cycling Strategy 2017

The Green Infrastructure and Cycling Strategy contains a wide range of potential future projects and initiatives to help achieve its vision of a connecting network of open spaces, green corridors and inland waterways. The Green Infrastructure and Cycling Strategy was approved by Cabinet in September 2017 and its objectives will form a key part of the new Local Plan.


Low Carbon and Renewable Energy (LCRE) Study 2019

This study provides evidence to underpin renewable and low carbon energy policies in the new plan, including that relating to wind turbines, solar panels and community energy schemes.



Sustainability Appraisal 2021

The Sustainability Appraisal (SA) looks at the economic, environmental and social effects of plans or proposals.  We are required to undertake an SA at several stages of the Local Plans' preparation. Full details can be found using the link below. 


Habitats Regulations Assessment 2021

The Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA) looks at the likely effects of plans or proposals on designated nature conservation sites.  Full details can be found using the link below. 


Recreation Mitigation Strategy

West Lancashire BC and the Liverpool City Region local authorities are working together to prepare a joint Recreation Mitigation Strategy ('RMS').  This involves looking at the recreational use of publicly accessible coast and green spaces in the area.  The Strategy will help inform the protection of European designated habitats sites from recreational pressures.  Sites include the southern part of the Ribble Estuary and Martin Mere within West Lancashire as well as the nearby Sefton Coast.

An online survey is available for completion to help us understand the types and patterns of use of coast and green spaces.


Strategic Flood Risk Assessment

A Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA) assesses the risk to an area from flooding from all sources (river and coastal, surface), now and in the future.  It takes account of the impacts of climate change and assesses the impact that land use changes and development in the area will have on flood risk. A 'Level 1' SFRA looks at flood risk in more general terms. A 'Level 2' SFRA looks at site-specific matters.


Ecological Networks

Ecological networks are a series of sites located across a district that enable wildlife to move safely from one place to another, for example to feed.


Green Belt Study 2011

We prepared a Green Belt study as part of the evidence base for the 2012 Local Plan.  Its purpose was to assess parcels of Green Belt land around existing settlement areas and to establish whether or not this land should still be included within the Green Belt designation.


Playing Pitch Strategy 2018

The Playing Pitch Strategy 2018 is made up of two documents, an assessment report, and a strategy / action plan. The strategy / action plan has been agreed by the National Governing Bodies of Sport.


Open Space Study 2018

The West Lancashire Open Space Study 2018 is an assessment of open space, sport and recreational facilities in West Lancashire. The study considers current and future local open space needs, standards, and management.




Thematic Papers 2021

The 'thematic evidence papers' (TEPs) summarise the initial, or 'baseline', evidence for the Local Plan 2023-2040. Each paper looks at a particular topic at a West Lancashire level.


Spatial Papers 2017

The 'spatial evidence papers' (SEPs) provide information by geographical area.


Census 2011

Census 2021

A more recent Census was undertaken in March 2021 by the Office of National Statistics (ONS). Due to the volume of the data, it takes ONS a while to collect and analyse the data from the Census. We expect ONS to release the first data sets in late spring / early summer 2022, and will update our evidence once this data is made public. 


Annual Monitoring Reports

The Council produces an annual monitoring report (AMR).  The AMR reports on the Council's progress in preparing the Local Plan and other documents; reports on any Local Plan consultation which has been undertaken; and looks at the Borough's planning policies to see whether they are achieving their purpose by using indicators and targets.


Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2018

The WLBC Health and Wellbeing Strategy aims to contribute to ensuring the conditions are in place for people in West Lancashire to live healthy and fulfilling lives.


Climate Change Strategy 2020

Following its declaration of a Climate Emergency, the Council has developed and adopted a new Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan 2020-30.  This will act as a route map to achieving aspirations to reduce emissions directly associated with Council operations and across the wider borough. It therefore has some cross-over with the Local Plan.