Martock Neighbourhood Plan

The three levels of planning policy



Home - Planning policy


There are three levels of planning policy, National, Local and Neighbourhood


Level 1 - National

The National Planning Policy Framework
(known as the NPPF)

This was produced by the coalition government as part of a major reform of the planning laws.

The NPPF sets out the government planning policies and how they are expected to be applied.

Local Councils use this produce their own plans for their own communities that are based on the guidance provided by the NPPF policies. Download NPPF here

In July 2018, a revised version of NPPF was peroduced by the government. Ostensibly it gives greater powers to villages with Neighbourhood Plans over 'non-strategic' policies; these are policies like what a development looks like and where it should be. We have no control over 'strategic policies' such as how many houses should be built. The revised NPPF can be downloaded here.



Level 2 - Local Council

The South Somerset Local Plan

The South Somerset Local plan sets out local planning policies and describes how they are expected to be applied. They must be based on NPPF guidelines.

Parish Councils use this produce their own Neighbourhood Plans for their own communities.

Development proposals are approved or dismissed by the South Somerset Council (or more usually a subcommittee of Councillors in our immediate area, called Area North). They have to decide on the basis of how well the proposal is in line with Local Plan policies and they take account of the views of the public

Download the SSDC Local Plan

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Level 3 - Neighbourhood

Martock neighbourhood Plan

Martock must now set out neighbourhood planning policies and how they are expected to be applied.

These policies must be based on the Local Plan guidelines and also conform with the NPPF. They fill in the details showing how the Local Plan is expected to be implemented on the ground in Martock. Once complete the Plan is examined by an independent examiner to ensure, amongst other things, that it conforms with the two higher level plans. It will then be put to a village referendum.

Developers will have to take note of the policies in the Neighbourhood Plan and Councillors will take note of them when they decide to approve or dismiss a development proposal. Planning Inspectors will take note of the Neighbourhood Plan in deciding appeals.

Government neighbourhood planning guidance can be found on the guidance pages of the Department of Communities and Local Government and their summary booklet can be downloaded here


What is the Planning Inspectorate and what does it do?


The Planning Inspectorate oversees the operation of the whole planning process. It approves Local Plans and it adjudicates when developers appeal against a refusal by the Local Council to allow a development.

It makes sense to be fully aware of how planning inspectors reach their judgements; of the importance they attach to particular arguments and policies. We need them to be able to use our neighbourhood plan to support their conclusions in the way we would like.

In the last few years there have been around eight Planning Inspectorate judgements on development proposals in Martock. These have been very useful to us by showing us how planning law applies in Martock.