Planning policy guide

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About planning policy

Planning policy (also referred to as plan making or spatial policy) is used to guide decisions on planning applications.

It is used to plan where and how future development should happen. There are 2 levels of planning policy - national and local.

National policy and government guidance

National Planning Policy Framework

The most recent version of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was published in July 2021.

It sets out the government’s national planning policies and how these are expected to be applied.

The NPPF must be taken into account in the preparation of local and neighbourhood plans.

It is also a material consideration in planning decisions. 

It is supplemented by planning practice guidance on GOV.UK

Neighbourhood planning

Neighbourhood planning was introduced by the Localism Act 2011 and came into effect in April 2012 (Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012 (as amended)).

It gives local communities the opportunity to produce neighbourhood development plans (which become part of the development plan once ‘made’), neighbourhood development orders and community right to build orders.

Six neighbourhood areas have been designated in Bracknell Forest for the purposes of neighbourhood planning.

Explore neighbourhood planning in Bracknell Forest

Current local policy

Planning systems

Our local policy is made up of plans that have been produced under slightly different planning systems:

The policies in the more recent plans have been prepared in the light of Sustainability Appraisals (including Strategic Environmental Assessments).

Development plan

In Bracknell Forest a number of policy documents are used to guide the location and other aspects of future development.

The policies in these documents are important in deciding planning applications. 

National legislation requires that decisions are made in line with the Development Plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

Bracknell Forest Borough Local Plan

Although some of these policies have been deleted, many were ‘saved’ by the Secretary of State beyond 27 September 2007 and remain in effect.

Some have been subsequently replaced by new policies in the adopted Core Strategy and adopted SALP.

Adopted January 2002.

View the Local Plan 2002

Replacement Minerals Local Plan

The plan was intended to make sure that minerals were extracted at the right pace throughout the period to the end of 2006, and that there are enough planning permissions for mineral extraction at the end of that period for a further 7 years of extraction (to the end of 2013).

The Plan also contains a number of Development Management policies.

Adopted May 2001.

View the minerals and waste plans

Waste Local Plan for Berkshire

This covered the period to 2006. Its policies control different types of waste management development and make sure that waste development is in the least environmentally sensitive locations. They also secure waste minimisation and recycling in new development.

Adopted December 1998.

Minerals and waste planning policy is currently under review.

View the minerals and waste plans

Core strategy

A high level document containing the council’s long term aspirations for the borough, and policies to guide and manage development in Bracknell Forest until 2026.

Adopted February 2008.

View the core strategy document

Site Allocations Local Plan

Helps implement the adopted Core Strategy.

It identifies sites for future housing development, makes sure that appropriate infrastructure is identified and delivered alongside new development, and also revises some designations on the Policies Map.

Adopted July 2013.

View the Site Allocations Local Plan

Bracknell Forest Borough Policies Map

Shows designations relating to ‘saved’ policies in the Bracknell Forest Borough Local Plan, Core Strategy designations, and sites proposed for development in the SALP.

Adopted July 2013.

View the policies map

Binfield Neighbourhood Plan

Contains policies to shape development in Binfield Parish Borough.

Entered into legal force in April 2016.

View the Binfield Neighbourhood Plan

Crowthorne Neighbourhood Plan

The Crowthorne Neighbourhood Plan forms part of the Development Plan and is used in determining planning applications in Crowthorne Parish.

The Plan was 'made' on 9 June 2021.

View the Crowthorne Neighbourhood Plan

In addition, Policy NRM6 of The South East Plan which deals with the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area remains in place.

The rest of this regional policy was partially revoked on 25 March 2013.

Supplementary Planning Documents

A supplementary planning document (SPD) provides additional guidance and detail to explain how a policy in a Local Plan should be interpreted and implemented.

An SPD is a material consideration and its production normally involves a single consultation stage before adoption.

Designing for Accessibility SPD

Provides guidance on making development accessible, including for disabled and other less mobile people.

Adopted 20 June 2006.

View the designing for accessibility SPD

Sustainable Resource Management SPD

Provides guidance on renewable energy, climate change, efficiency and sustainable construction in relation to Core Strategy policies.

Adopted 21 October 2008.

View the Sustainable Resource Management SPD

Amen Corner SPD

Provides guidance for applications for a comprehensive mixed-use development at Amen Corner South. The site was agreed in principle through the Core Strategy and allocated through the SALP.

Adopted 16 March 2010.

View the Amen Corner SPD

Character Area Assessments SPD

Defines the character of specific areas in the borough and interprets Core Strategy policy.

Adopted 16 March 2010.

View the Character Area Assessments SPD

Streetscene SPD

Contains design guidance for streets and other public spaces in residential developments.

Adopted 29 March 2011.

View the Streetscene SPD

Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area SPD

Provides guidance on an avoidance and mitigation strategy to make sure that new development does not have adverse effects on the Special Protection Area (SPA).

Adopted 18 April 2018.

View the Thames Basin Heaths SPA SPD

Warfield SPD

Provides guidance for applications for a comprehensive mixed-use development of the Warfield site (formerly known as land North of Whitegrove and Quelm Park).

Adopted 21 February 2012.

View the Warfield SPD

Planning Obligations SPD

Sets out the council’s approach to securing infrastructure by planning obligations and explains their relationship with CIL.

Adopted 6 April 2015.

View the Planning Obligations SPD

Parking Standards SPD

Contains guidance on parking requirements for residential and non-residential development.

Adopted 16 March 2016.

View the Parking Standards SPD

Design SPD

Sets out the design principles and best practice to guide the design quality of development proposals in the borough.

Adopted March 2017.

View the Design SPD

Community Infrastructure Levy

The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is a charge on new development payable to Bracknell Forest Council to deliver infrastructure needed to support new development.

Started charging CIL 6 April 2015.

Learn about CIL

Local Transport Plan

The transport plan (LTP3) sets out the transport strategy from 2011 to 2026.

It provides the framework for investment, management, maintenance and monitoring of the transport system.

It covers all types of transport including walking, cycling, public transport, cars and freight. 

View the transport plan

Emerging local policy

Local Development Scheme

The Local Development Scheme is a 3-year work programme that sets out the planning policy documents the council will produce.

The council's latest local development scheme came into effect on 27 October 2021.

View the Local Development Scheme 2021 to 2024

Statement of Community Involvement

Community involvement is an important part of the planning process. The Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) sets out the standards to be achieved in involving the local community in the preparation, alteration and review of all planning documents and applications.

The aim of SCI is 'to give all people the opportunity to be engaged in the local planning process which shapes the environment of Bracknell Forest Borough'.

The SCI was adopted by the council on 20 February 2014.

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Due to the pandemic, the council will be unable to fulfil some of the commitments set out in the adopted Statement of Community Involvement relating to how we consult on planning policy documents and a variety of application types. This is to protect the health of our communities and follow national advice and guidelines. 

These changes are set out in our temporary changes addendum.

Emerging Development Plan documents

Bracknell Forest Local Plan

The Bracknell Forest Local Plan will guide development in the borough up to 2037 through the implementation of strategic and development management policies.

View the emerging local plan

Joint Minerals and Waste Local Plan

This will set out policies on minerals and waste across 4 council's: Bracknell Forest, Wokingham Borough, Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, and Reading Borough.

It will be informed by a robust evidence base.

View the Joint Minerals and Waste Plan

Policies Map

The adopted Policies Map spatially illustrates the policies of the Local Plans on an Ordnance Survey base.

It will be updated to incorporate any changes in area-specific policies resulting from the adoption of the Bracknell Forest Local Plan and Joint Minerals and Waste Local Plan.

View the policies map