Planning Portal

Information Leaflet 7: Hierarchy of Planning Documents
Development Plans

Development plans may be in the form of area plans, local plans or subject plans. They apply the regional policies of the Department at the appropriate local level. Development plans inform the general public, statutory authorities, developers and other interested bodies of the policy framework and land use proposals that will be used to guide development decisions within their local area.
Each development plan provides:
  • a framework for investment by public, private and community sectors;
  • confidence and a measure of certainty for those wishing to develop and those affected by development proposals;
  • a framework for positive co-ordination of public policies in ‘joined-up’ Government;
  • general and specific land allocations for the full range of land uses needed to support the life of the local community and social and economic progress;
  • a process for involvement and ‘ownership’ by local communities wishing to influence the future development of their areas in a positive manner; and
  • a process to translate to local level the guiding principles and objectives of the Regional Development Strategy and Planning Policy Statements.
The development plan is therefore the primary means of evaluating and reconciling any potential conflict between the need for development and the need to protect the environment within a particular area.
In making its decisions on planning applications the Department must take into account the relevant provisions of the development plan for the area.
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