Please use the A to Z shortcuts below to navigate through this page.  This page will be updated with the definitions of more terms and abbreviations used within Planning Policy over time. If you do not find the definition you are looking for please contact the Planning Policy team.

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Last updated: 24th November 2016


A

AAP / Area Action Plan:

Area Action Plans can be used to provide a planning framework for areas of change and areas of conservation. Area Action Plans will have the status of Development Plan Documents. 

 Affordable housing:

Social rented, affordable rented and intermediate housing, provided to eligible households whose needs are not met by the market. Eligibility is determined with regard to local incomes and local house prices. Affordable housing should include provisions to remain at an affordable price for future eligible households or for the subsidy to be recycled for alternative affordable housing provision.

Social rented housing is owned by local authorities and private registered providers (as defined in section 80 of the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008), for which guideline target rents are determined through the national rent regime. It may also be owned by other persons and provided under equivalent rental arrangements to the above, as agreed with the local authority or with the Homes and Communities Agency.

Affordable rented housing is let by local authorities or private registered providers of social housing to households who are eligible for social rented housing. Affordable Rent is subject to rent controls that require a rent of no more than 80% of the local market rent (including service charges, where applicable).

Intermediate housing is homes for sale and rent provided at a cost above social rent, but below market levels subject to the criteria in the Affordable Housing definition above. These can include shared equity (shared ownership and equity loans), other low cost homes for sale and intermediate rent, but not affordable rented housing.

Homes that do not meet the above definition of affordable housing, such as “low cost market” housing, may not be considered as affordable housing for planning purposes.

Source: NPPF.

 

Air Quality Management Areas:

Areas designated by local authorities because they are not likely to achieve national air quality objectives by the relevant deadlines (Source: NPPF).

 

AMR / formerly the Annual Monitoring Report, now the Authority's Monitoring Report: 

This assesses the implementation of the Local Development Scheme and the extent to which policies in Local Development Documents are being successfully implemented. 

AONB / Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty:

An area of high landscape value of designated national importance, within which the conservation and enhancement of its natural beauty is the priority. PPS7 provides national policy guidance for AONB (Source: South West Regional Development Agency). 

Archaeological interest:

there will be archaeological interest in a heritage asset if it holds, or potentially may hold, evidence of past human activity worthy of expert investigation at some point. Heritage assets with archaeological interest are the primary source of evidence about the substance and evolution of places, and of the people and cultures that made them (Source: NPPF). 

Article 4 direction / A4D:

this is a legal notice applied to a specific geographical area, and means that planning permission is required for types of development or changes of use, which would normally fall under permitted development (i.e. would not require express planning permission).

 

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B

BREEAM / Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method:

 

A way of assessing the environmental performance of both new and existing buildings (Source: South West Regional Development Agency).

Brownfield Land or Site: See "Previously developed land" below.

 

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C

C3 (Dwelling House):

a Use Class described as a “dwelling house”; use of a house by

  • (a) a single person or by people to be regarded as forming a single household;
  • (b) not more than six residents living together as a single household where care is provided for residents; or
  • (c) not more than six residents living together as a single household where no care is provided to residents (other than a use within Class C4)
C4 (House of Multiple Occupation):

a Use Class defined as use of a dwellinghouse by not more than six residents as a “house in multiple occupation”. This does not include a converted block of flats to which section 257 of the Housing Act 2004 applies but otherwise has the same meaning as the Housing Act 2004.  See House of Multiple Occupation / HMO on this page via this link.

Census Output Area (COA):

a geographical area used to analysis data from the census, it normally consists of approximately 125 households.

CIL / Community Infrastructure Levy:

A levy allowing local authorities to raise funds from owners or developers of land undertaking new building projects in their area (Source: NPPF). More information is available via our CIL page

Core strategy (CS): This sets out the long-term spatial vision for the local planning authority area, the spatial objectives and strategic policies to deliver that vision. The Core Strategy will have the status of a Development Plan Document

 

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D

Decentralised energy:

Local renewable energy and local low-carbon energy usually but not always on a relatively small scale encompassing a diverse range of technologies (Source: NPPF). 

Designated heritage asset:

A World Heritage Site, Scheduled Monument, Listed Building, Protected Wreck Site, Registered Park and Garden, Registered Battlefield or Conservation Area designated under the relevant legislation (Source: NPPF). 

DP /  Development Plan:

As set out in Section 38(6) of the Act, an authority’s development plan consists of the relevant Regional Spatial Strategy and the Development Plan Documents contained within its Local Development Framework.  They include adopted Local Plans, neighbourhood plans. 

DPD / Development Plan Document:

Spatial planning documents that are subject to independent examination, and together with the relevant Regional Spatial Strategy, will form the development plan. They can include a Core Strategy, Site Specific Allocations of land, and Area Action Plans (where needed). Other Development Plan Documents, including generic Development Control Policies, can be produced. They will all be shown geographically on an adopted Proposals Map.

 

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E

Economic development:

Development, including those within the B Use Classes, public and community uses and main town centre uses, but excluding housing development (Source: NPPF). 

Ecological networks:

These link sites of biodiversity importance (Source: NPPF). 

Edge of centre:

For retail purposes, a location that is well connected and up to 300 metres of the primary shopping area. For all other main town centre uses, a location within 300 metres of a town centre boundary. For office development, this includes locations outside the town centre but within 500 metres of a public transport interchange. In determining whether a site falls within the definition of edge of centre, account should be taken of local circumstances(Source: NPPF). 

EIA / Environmental Impact Assessment:

A procedure to be followed for certain types of project to ensure that decisions are made in full knowledge of any likely significant effects on the environment (Source: NPPF). 

 

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F

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G

Generic development control policies:

These will be a suite of criteria-based policies which are required to ensure that all development within the areas meets the spatial vision and spatial objectives set out in the Core Strategy. They may be included in any Development Plan Document or may form a standalone document. 

Green infrastructure:

A network of multi-functional green space, urban and rural, which is capable of delivering a wide range of environmental and quality of life benefits for local communities (Source: NPPF). 

GTAA / Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment

Information is available via this link.

 

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H

HELAA:

Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment, more information is available via this link.

Heritage asset:

A building, monument, site, place, area or landscape identified as having a degree of significance meriting consideration in planning decisions, because of its heritage interest. Heritage asset includes designated heritage assets and assets identified by the local planning authority, including local listing (Source: NPPF). 

Historic environment:

All aspects of the environment resulting from the interaction between people and places through time, including all surviving physical remains of past human activity, whether visible, buried or submerged, and landscaped and planted or managed flora (Source: NPPF). 

Historic environment record:

Information services that seek to provide access to comprehensive and dynamic resources relating to the historic environment of a defined geographic area for public benefit and use (Source: NPPF). 

HMO / House in Multiple Occupation:

a house or flat that is occupied by more than one household, who share basic amenities. A fuller definition can be found in the Housing Act 2004

The definition of HMO (according to section 257 of the Housing Act 2004) is ‘a building converted into and consisting entirely of self-contained flats’ that does not meet at least the required 1991 building regulations and where less than two thirds of the flats are owner occupied.

Click here to see the Planning policy page on Houses of Multiple Occupation.

 

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I

Inclusive design: Designing the built environment, including buildings and their surrounding spaces, to ensure that they can be accessed and used by everyone (Source: NPPF).

 

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J

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K

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L

LDD / Local Development Document:

The collective term for Development Plan Documents, Supplementary Planning Documents and the Statement of Community Involvement

LDF / Local Development Framework:

The name for the portfolio of Local Development Documents. It consists of Development Plan Documents, Supplementary Planning Documents,a Statement of Community Involvement, the Local Development Scheme and Annual Monitoring Reports. Together these documents will provide the framework for delivering the spatial planning strategy for a local authority area. 

LDS / Local Development Scheme:

This sets out the programme for preparing Local Development Documents. 

LEP / Local Enterprise Partnerships:

Locally-owned partnerships between local authorities and businesses and play a central role in determining local economic priorities and undertaking activities to drive economic growth and the creation of local jobs. 

Local Nature Partnership:

A body, designated by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, established for the purpose of protecting and improving the natural environment in an area and the benefits derived from it (Source: NPPF). 

Local Plan:

The plan for the future development of the local area, drawn up by the local planning authority in consultation with the community. In law this is described as the development plan documents adopted under the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. Current core strategies or other planning policies, which under the regulations would be considered to be development plan documents, form part of the Local Plan. The term includes old policies which have been saved under the 2004 Act (Source: NPPF). 

Local Planning Authority:

The public authority whose duty it is to carry out specific planning functions for a particular area. All references to local planning authority apply to the district council, London borough council, county council, Broads Authority, National Park Authority and the Greater London Authority, to the extent appropriate to their responsibilities (Source: NPPF). 

Lower Super Output Area (LSOA):

a geographical area used to analysis data from the census, containing a minimum population of 1,000 persons and on average (mean) contain a population of 1,500 persons.

 

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M

Major Residential Development

The construction of 10 or more dwellings on a development site.

Minerals of local and national importance:

Minerals which are necessary to meet society’s needs, including aggregates, brickclay (especially Etruria Marl and fireclay), silica sand (including high grade silica sands), cement raw materials, gypsum, salt, fluorspar, shallow and deep-mined coal, oil and gas (including hydrocarbons), tungsten, kaolin, ball clay, potash and local minerals of importance to heritage assets and local distinctiveness (Source: NPPF). 

Mineral Safeguarding Area:

An area designated by Minerals Planning Authorities which covers known deposits of minerals which are desired to be kept safeguarded from unnecessary sterilisation by non-mineral development (Source: NPPF). 

MoD / Ministry of Defence: Information on the MoD Concept Statements can be found in the Planning Policy Evidence Base.

 

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N

Nature Improvement Areas:

Inter-connected networks of wildlife habitats intended to re-establish thriving wildlife populations and help species respond to the challenges of climate change (Source: NPPF). 

Neighbourhood Development Order:

An Order made by a local planning authority (under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990) through which Parish Councils and neighbourhood forums can grant planning permission for a specific development proposal or classes of development (Source: NPPF). 

Neighbourhood plans:

A plan prepared by a Parish Council or Neighbourhood Forum for a particular neighbourhood area, made under the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (Source: NPPF). 

NPP / Neighbourhood Planning Protocol:

sets out mechanisms for Neighbourhood Fora, Neighbourhood Referenda, Neighbourhood Development Orders, and the Community Right to Build.  It will also include a review of the Council’s Statement of Community Involvement. 

NPPF / National Planning Policy Framework:

More information is available on the Department for Communities and Local Government's website. 

The framework can be downloaded by clickling here.

 

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O

Out of centre:

A location which is not in or on the edge of a centre but not necessarily outside the urban area (Source: NPPF). 

Out of town:

A location out of centre that is outside the existing urban area (Source: NPPF). 

 

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P

Planning condition:

A condition imposed on a grant of planning permission (in accordance with the Town and Country Planning Act 1990) or a condition included in a Local Development Order or Neighbourhood Development Order (Source: NPPF). 

Planning obligation:

A legally enforceable obligation entered into under section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to mitigate the impacts of a development proposal (Source: NPPF). 

Previously developed land (also known as Brownfield Land)

Land which is or was occupied by a permanent structure, including the curtilage of the developed land (although it should not be assumed that the whole of the curtilage should be developed) and any associated fixed surface infrastructure. This excludes: land that is or has been occupied by agricultural or forestry buildings; land that has been developed for minerals extraction or waste disposal by landfill purposes where provision for restoration has been made through development control procedures; land in built-up areas such as private residential gardens, parks, recreation grounds and allotments; and land that was previously-developed but where the remains of the permanent structure or fixed surface structure have blended into the landscape in the process of time (Source: NPPF). 

Primary shopping area:

Defined area where retail development is concentrated (generally comprising the primary and those secondary frontages which are adjoining and closely related to the primary shopping frontage) (Source: NPPF). 

Primary and secondary frontages:

Primary frontages are likely to include a high proportion of retail uses which may include food, drinks, clothing and household goods. Secondary frontages provide greater opportunities for a diversity of uses such as restaurants, cinemas and businesses (Source: NPPF). 

 

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Q

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R

Renewable and low carbon energy:

Includes energy for heating and cooling as well as generating electricity. Renewable energy covers those energy flows that occur naturally and repeatedly in the environment – from the wind, the fall of water, the movement of the oceans, from the sun and also from biomass and deep geothermal heat. Low carbon technologies are those that can help reduce emissions (compared to conventional use of fossil fuels) (Source: NPPF). 

RSS / Regional Spatial Strategy:

sets out the region’s policies in relation to the development and use of land and forms part of the development plan for local planning authorities. 

Rural exception sites:

Small sites used for affordable housing in perpetuity where sites would not normally be used for housing. Rural exception sites seek to address the needs of the local community by accommodating households who are either current residents or have an existing family or employment connection. Small numbers of market homes may be allowed at the local authority’s discretion, for example where essential to enable the delivery of affordable units without grant funding (Source: NPPF).

 

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S

SA / Sustainability Appraisal:

a tool for appraising policies to ensure they reflect sustainable development objectives. Sustainability Appraisals are required in the Act to be undertaken for all local development documents.

Safeguarding zone:

An area defined in Circular 01/03: Safeguarding aerodromes, technical sites and military explosives storage areas, to safeguard such sites (Source: NPPF). 

Saved policies or plans:

existing adopted development plans are saved for three years from the date of commencement of the Act. Any policies in old style development plans adopted after commencement of the Act will become saved policies for three years from their adoption or approval (Source: NPPF). 

Section 106 Agreement:

A legal agreement under Section 106 of the 1990 Town and Country Planning Act. Section 106 agreements are legal agreements between a planning authority and a developer, or undertakings offered unilaterally by a developer, that ensure that certain extra works related to a development are undertaken (Source: South West Regional Development Agency). 

Setting of a heritage asset:

The surroundings in which a heritage asset is experienced. Its extent is not fixed and may change as the asset and its surroundings evolve. Elements of a setting may make a positive or negative contribution to the significance of an asset, may affect the ability to appreciate that significance or may be neutral (Source: NPPF). 

SHLAA:

Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment - more information is available via this link.

Significance (for heritage policy):

The value of a heritage asset to this and future generations because of its heritage interest. That interest may be archaeological, architectural, artistic or historic. Significance derives not only from a heritage asset’s physical presence, but also from its setting (Source: NPPF). 

Special Areas of Conservation:

Areas given special protection under the European Union’s Habitats Directive, which is transposed into UK law by the Habitats and Conservation of Species Regulations 2010 (Source: NPPF).

Special Protection Areas:

Areas which have been identified as being of international importance for the breeding, feeding, wintering or the migration of rare and vulnerable species of birds found within European Union countries. They are European designated sites, classified under the Birds Directive (Source: NPPF).

Site investigation information:

includes a risk assessment of land potentially affected by contamination, or ground stability and slope stability reports, as appropriate. All investigations of land potentially affected by contamination should be carried out in accordance with established procedures (such as BS10175 (2001) Code of Practice for the Investigation of Potentially Contaminated Sites). The minimum information that should be provided by an applicant is the report of a desk study and site reconnaissance (Source: NPPF). 

Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA):

a procedure (set out in the Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes Regulations 2004) which requires the formal environmental assessment of certain plans and programmes which are likely to have significant effects on the environment (Source: NPPF).

Supplementary Planning Document (SPD):

These add further detail to the policies in the Local Plan and can be used to provide further guidance for development on specific sites, or on particular issues, such as design. Supplementary planning documents are capable of being a material consideration in planning decisions but are not part of the Development Plan and are not subject to independent examination (Source: NPPF). 

Sustainability Appraisal (SA):

is a process of appraising the social, environmental and economic effects of plans strategies and policies from the outset of plan preparation.  They ensure the strategies and policies to ensure they reflect sustainable development objectives and are required in the Act to be undertaken for all local development documents.

 

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T

Town centre:

Area defined on the local authority’s proposal map, including the primary shopping area and areas predominantly occupied by main town centre uses within or adjacent to the primary shopping area. References to town centres or centres apply to city centres, town centres, district centres and local centres but exclude small parades of shops of purely neighbourhood significance. Unless they are identified as centres in Local Plans, existing out-of-centre developments, comprising or including main town centre uses, do not constitute town centres (Source: NPPF). 

Transport assessment:

A comprehensive and systematic process that sets out transport issues relating to a proposed development. It identifies what measures will be required to improve accessibility and safety for all modes of travel, particularly for alternatives to the car such as walking, cycling and public transport and what measures will need to be taken to deal with the anticipated transport impacts of the development (Source: NPPF). 

Transport statement:

A simplified version of a transport assessment where it is agreed the transport issues arising out of development proposals are limited and a full transport assessment is not required (Source: NPPF).

 

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U

Use Class Order:

Town and Country Planning Use Class Order puts uses of land and buildings in to categories known as ‘use classes’.

Further information is available on Use Class C3 (dwelling house) and C4 (house of Multiple Occupation) on this page (Section C).

 

 

 

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V

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W

Wildlife corridor:

Areas of habitat connecting wildlife populations (Source: NPPF). 

Windfall sites:

Sites which have not been specifically identified as available in the Local Plan process. They normally comprise previously-developed sites that have unexpectedly become available (Source: NPPF). 

 World Heritage Site:

A cultural or natural site of outstanding value designated by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) (Source: South West Regional Development Agency). 

 

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X

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Y

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Z

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