Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

> What is the local plan and where can I view it?

> What policies will I need to think about when I make my application?

> How do you write a local plan?

> What is the timetable for producing the new Local Plan?

> When will you start using the new local plan to decide planning applications?

> What is a neighbourhood plan and are there any in the National Park?

> How do you decide which land is allocated for development?


What is the local plan and where can I view it?

The local plan provides policy and guidance on what development is and isn’t acceptable in the National Park.  It sets out the strategic priorities for development on Dartmoor, and more detailed policies covering subjects such as household extensions, new housing, employment development, and the natural and historic environment.

View the local plan


What policies will I need to think about when I make my planning application?

The local plan is the starting point for all planning decisions we make. To help identify relevant considerations we recommend using our planning advice service, and for larger applications also employing a professional to help you with your application. You should consider any relevant policies in national policy and the local plan. It is important to remember the policies in the local plan must be considered as a whole, and that you cannot pick out just one policy which suits your proposal, and ignore those which don’t.


How do you write a local plan?

Government regulations set out the key steps we must follow when reviewing the local plan.  We have published a document called Planning: Having Your Say which sets out how we involve communities, business and other stakeholders in this process. The local plan is put together based upon a significant amount of evidence and research together with the views we receive at the different stages of consultation.  Before a local plan is ‘adopted’ and can be used for decision making it goes through an examination in public, where an independent inspector considers how the plan has been put together, whether it is deliverable, and hears the views of anyone who objects to a policy in the plan.


What is the timetable for producing the new Local Plan?

The Dartmoor Local Plan was adopted on the 3 December 2021. The Local Development Scheme (LDS) sets out the timetable and project plan followed for delivering this plan.


When will you start using the new local plan to decide planning applications?

The Dartmoor Local Plan was adopted on the 3 December 2021. It replaces the previous local plan documents as  the development plan for Dartmoor National Park and is used for deciding planning applications in the National Park.


What is a neighbourhood plan and are there any in the National Park?

A neighbourhood plan is a type of development plan which allows local communities to influence the planning of their local area. It contains policies specific to the neighbourhood area and can address issues such as where new homes, shops and offices should be built, what those new buildings should look like and what infrastructure should be provided. The policies of a neighbourhood plan must not conflict with the strategic policies of the local plan, but neighbourhood plans can add further requirements to these policies (such as designating site allocations, design requirements and occupancy restrictions on new housing) where they are supported by robust evidence.

There are currently no adopted neighbourhood plans in the National Park, but there are some in the draft stages. Find out more about neighbourhood planning on the Community and Neighbourhood Plans page.


How do you decide which land is allocated for development?

Unlike District Councils, National Park Authorities do not have housing targets which need to be met and the demand for development is determined by the needs of the local community in balance with the requirement to conserve and enhance the National Park’s special qualities.

We would allocate land through our local plan; a Neighbourhood Plan may also allocate land. We currently only allocate land for development in the larger settlements. Housing Needs Assessments provide evidence of the housing need for a particular settlement or Parish, and therefore whether land needs to be identified. We then look at the different sites which may be available; the starting point for this process is the latest Land Availability Assessment.  We will assess potential sites by looking at a wide variety of issues such as topography, flood risk, access, density,  landscape character, biodiversity, cultural heritage etc., as well as taking into account the views of the community and any other stakeholders.  The local plan may then identify a site(s) which could come forward to meet the identified need.  A planning application would still then be needed to assess the detailed design of the development.