Planning statement

The goal of a good planning statement is to provide a balanced justification for development.

When required

Major applications (10 or more dwellings, 1000 square metres non-domestic floor space or site area one hectare or more).

Applications not in accordance with the current development plans.

It is also strongly recommended that a planning statement is submitted where any complex planning issues are raised. This will provide an opportunity for the applicant to provide relevant supporting information and justification for the proposed development, and explain how the proposal meets local and national planning policy requirements.

Contents of a planning statement

Planning statements are a key part of any successful planning application. They should include:

  • local context
  • the need for the proposed development
  • how the proposed development accords with relevant national, regional and local planning policies
  • whether emerging policies should be taken into consideration and
  • set out other material considerations that should be taken into consideration

Planning policy weight

Planning law requires that applications for planning permission must be determined in accordance with the development plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise. So, the planning statement generally aims to demonstrate that a proposal is in accordance with all policies.

It is not unusual for development plan policies to pull in different directions. In these cases the planning statement sets out the relative importance of the policies which are complied with or infringed, with the goal of assisting the case officer to give the correct weight to the key issues. It is worth noting that policies that are out of date or ineffective may carry less weight in decision making.

Material considerations

Some key material considerations that regularly crop up include:

  • the planning history of a site
  • precedents“
  • Enabling” development and national guidance and written ministerial statements

The planning balance

At the end of the planning statement the planning balance should be clearly set out. We would expect the statement to demonstrate the social, economic and environmental benefits of the proposal and how these outweigh any of the negatives.