Joined up approach by councils to plan for development

Three councils have teamed up to work on a Joint Local Plan to ensure future developments meet the needs of all residents.

Plymouth City Council, South Hams District Council and West Devon Borough Council are working together to prepare the Plymouth and South West Devon Joint Local Plan.

It brings together work that has previously been carried out separately by the three councils on the Plymouth Plan, South Ham’s ‘Our Plan’ and West Devon’s ‘Our Plan’.

The councils will look at the big issues which affect all their areas including where to build homes, where roads should go and how to ensure economic growth and prosperity for residents in Plymouth as well as the key market towns, villages and hamlets in West Devon and the South Hams.

The three organisations already have a long tradition of working closely together, with each being asked to comment on developments near their boundaries. They have also commented on each other’s strategic plans.

Plymouth City Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Strategic Housing, Transport, and Planning, Councillor Patrick Nicholson, said: “New housing is often built on the edges of cities, roads go through all our boundaries and we all face the same issues of how to ensure growth without having too much of an impact on our incredible environment which is often the very reason people want to live here.”

Graham Parker, Lead Councillor for Strategic Planning and Housing at West Devon Borough Council added: “The Joint Local Plan is based on meeting the housing and employment needs of all three council areas together whilst protecting our wonderful natural and historic environment. This brings us in line with the very best practice in the country.”

Councillor Michael Hicks, South Hams District Council’s Executive Portfolio Holder for Strategy and Commissioning said: “It is very important in producing a local plan that the policies are developed as flexibly as possible. Using a joint local plan with three planning authorities enables the best result.”

The Government is encouraging councils to work together to develop a comprehensive strategy based on Housing Market Areas. In this case, a Joint Local Plan will mean:

  • A more efficient use of resources, sharing skills and plan-making budgets
  • A simpler and more cost-effective process with one examination in front of an inspector instead of three
  • The area has a clear voice for engaging with regional bodies that guide funding decisions, such as Local Enterprise Partnerships.

The plan builds on existing work carried out among all communities so far and, while some policies will be more tailored to specific areas, much of the plan will deal with matters that affect every community.

Over the summer, planners from all three councils will be consulting with their communities about where development will take place.

The consultation will start on 1 July and run until 12 August. As part of the preparation, Plymouth City Council has teamed up with Plymouth Octopus Project (POP) and Planning Aid who will be hosting training events for community groups and neighbourhoods in Plymouth on how to get involved.

For more information email or to find out where and training takes place email

South Hams District Council and West Devon Borough Council will be holding a series for engagement sessions for town and parish councils and neighbourhood planning groups.

Officers from both authorities will be running a series of information sessions across the district and borough. To find out more visit and