The Cliftonville Development Plan Document - is it 'sound'?

Guidance Notes


Having your say on a Development Plan Document


Before a local authority can formally adopt a Development Plan Document (DPD), the document must be examined by an independent planning inspector taking into account the 'soundness' of the document and the views of local people.

Members of the public can comment on a Development Plan Document by completing a model representation form.

This form asks you to comment on the legal compliance and soundness of the document. 

Legal Compliance

A Development Plan Document must meet the legal requirements as set out in the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.

The following things need to be considered when testing if the DPD is legally compliant.

  • The DPD should meet the timetable in the council's Local Development Scheme.  This scheme sets out all of the planning documents the Council aims to produce over a three year period.  It also sets out all of the stages the council must follow when producing the DPD.  A copy of the Local Development Scheme can be found by clicking here Local Development Scheme or by calling in to the council offices.
  • Consultations on the DPD should follow the council's Statement of Community Involvement.  This sets out the council's strategy for how it will involve the community in the preparation and revision of planning policy documents (including Development Plan Documents) and also the consideration of planning applications.
  • The council must ensure that copies of the DPD, Sustainability Appraisal Report (see below) and list of evidence based documents are available for members of the public to view in council office and online.  Adverts must also be placed in the local newspapers and notice must be given to statutory organisations and anyone else who has requested to be notified.
  • For each DPD the council is required to provide a Sustainability Appraisal Report.  This is to ensure that its policies reflect social, environmental and economic factors.
  • The DPD should consider national policy and conform generally to the South East Plan (the Regional Spatial Strategy).  This strategy sets out the region's policies in relation to the development and use of land.
  • The DPD must also consider the Sustainable Community Strategy for the area, prepared by the East Kent Local Strategic Partnership. 


To be sound the DPD should be justified, effective and consistent with national policy.

1. Justified

  • This means that the DPD should have reliable evidence demonstrating how the local community and other organisations have been involved. 
  • The plan should also be backed up by facts and research
  • The most appropriate strategy should be provided, having considered alternatives

2. Effective

The DPD should be...

  • deliverable
  • flexible
  • coherent with the strategies of neighbouring authorities
  • monitored

It should have...

  • sound infrastructure delivery planning
  • no regulatory or national planning barriers to delivery
    delivery partners signed up to it
  • clear lines of accountability, identifying who is responsible for ensuring policies and proposals happen and when

The plan needs to be flexible to deal with minor changes in response to the monitoring process or more significant changes to respond to problems such as lack of funding.  Any major changes may need formal review and public consultation.

Targets in the DPD should be linked to an Annual Monitoring Report which will be produced each year by all local authorities.  This will show whether the DPD needs amendment.

3. Consistent with national policy

DPD's should be consistent with national policy.  Where there is a departure there must be a clear and convincing reason for this. 

If you think the DPD should include a policy which goes against national policy then you need to clearly state your reasons for this and identify a justified local need.

Additional policies

If you think that the content of a DPD is not sound because it does not include a policy where it should do, you need to do the following:

  • Check whether your issue is already covered specifically by any national planning policy or in the Regional Spatial Strategy.  If so it does not need to be included.
  • Check whether your concern is covered by any other policies in the DPD or in any other DPD in the council's Local Development Framework.  There is no need for repetition between documents in the LDF.
  • If the policy is not covered elsewhere, in what way is the DPD unsound without the policy?
  • If the DPD is unsound without the policy, what should the policy say?

General advice

If you want to make a representation seeking a change to the DPD you should make it clear how you believe it is not sound.  You should try to support your representation with evidence showing why the DPD should be changed.

Please ensure that your response is as accurate and clear as possible and that you provide all of the necessary information/evidence to support your representation.  Once your form has been submitted there is not normally another chance to add further comments.  Comments of support for the DPD can also be strengthened with relevant evidence.

After this stage, further submissions will only be at the request of the Inspector.

It is recommended that for any group sharing a common view only one representation is submitted.  This needs to state how many people this represents and how the representation has been authorised.

To view detailed guidance on the preparation, publication and examination of DPD's please view the Planning Policy Statement 12: Local Spatial Planning and in The Plan Making Manual.


Last modified by Jo Wadey - Thanet District Council 12 years ago