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The charity making life better by water

Planning policy

Planning Aid England say that plan making is “setting out a plan for how an area will develop over time as a guide to future development”. Plans are important because planning law requires that applications for planning permission must be determined in line with the development plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

So it's important for us and others to get involved with the plan making process to influence what might happen around the waterways at an early stage.

Below you'll find out how:

  • we’re involved in plan making
  • to get help in making comments on plans or other documents
  • to protect the line of a canal restoration scheme
  • to get information to help you in preparing a neighbourhood plan when you have a waterway in your area
Potato Wharf, Castlefield, Manchester

Our involvement

We encourage those making plans (local planning authorities, parish/town councils and neighbourhood forums and some elected mayors) to consult us as they prepare their plans. We comment on a range of matters that are covered by plans. These can include opportunities to improve public engagement with our network (which can bring positive benefits to local communities) as well as general environmental, economic and social issues affecting our waterways.

We’ll decide on a case by case basis how involved we become in the development plan process.

Get help on the development plan process and how to respond to development plan consultations as an individual or on behalf of a waterway organisation

Get involved early. As a plan moves through the process you’ll have less opportunity to change it.

Local plans

Planning Aid England has information on the local plan process and how to get involved. You may also find this summary of the local plan key stages and the opportunities to influence them useful.

Neighbourhood plans

Locality have a quick guide to neighbourhood planning. While it’s for those producing neighbourhood plans, it explains the process and has relevant sections on community engagement.

You may also find this summary of the neighbourhood plan key stages and the opportunities to influence them useful.

Mayoral/Strategic plans

For information on strategic planning frameworks and the London plan, please go to the website of the plan making body.

Other planning policy documents

As well as the development plan some councils also publish supplementary planning documents on different issues, e.g. design, renewable energy etc. These add further detail to policies in the development plan.

Other documents relevant to the waterways are conservation area appraisals, local transport plans and site specific development guidance. There will usually be opportunities to comment on these.

Local Plans: Delivering inland waterway restoration projects in England and Wales provides information and case studies of how planning policy has been used to protect the line of such projects in local plans.

Information for communities developing a neighbourhood plan

Did you know

71% of the population agree that canals are an important part of local communities.

Last Edited: 18 November 2020

photo of a location on the canals
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