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Copeland Local Plan

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Copeland Development Plan

Development Planning is a vital tool in helping the Council and the community respond to the challenges that lie ahead for the Copeland borough.  It can help us to prepare the land, the places, the infrastructure and the services that will be needed, and it can set out the basis for making choices about new development.  

This page sets out the statutory planning documents which make up the current Development Plan. Planning applications must be determined in accordance with the Development Plan unless other material considerations indicate otherwise. The current Development Plan comprises the Core Strategy and Development Management Policies DPD (Adopted in December 2013) and a number of policies “saved” from the Copeland Local Plan 2001-2016. These documents are considered further below.

The Council is currently in the process of producing a new Local Plan which will replace the Core Strategy and saved policies. At the current time Local Plan progress remains a Council priority, the Strategic Planning Team is continuing to progress work on the Preferred Options Draft  Local Plan’.  However in  light of the current  situation with Covid 19 and the current restrictions that are in place, it is likely that  consultation on the Preferred Options stage of the Local Plan will be later than identified in the Local Development Scheme (LDS). We will keep the situation under regular review and update the Local Plan pages of the website accordingly. The emerging Local Plan considered further below.


Emerging Planning Policy

The Council has commenced work on its new Local Plan which will contain strategic policies, site allocations and development management policies. The Plan will consider how much development should be supported over the plan period 2017-2035, where such development should go and what it should look like and which areas should be protected from development.

The first draft of the Local Plan, the Issues and Options Draft, has been produced and can be viewed herealong with the Issues and Options Appendices which is available here.

The Issues and Options Draft identifies key issues facing the Borough and sets out a number of alternative options for addressing them. It does not, at this stage, identify sites for development or contain specific policies. The Draft has been informed by a number of evidence base documents, which are listed here.

The Council carried out a public consultation on the Issues and Options Draft between 25th November 2019 and 20th January 2020. We are currently considering all responses received and these will inform the forthcoming draft, the Preferred Options Draft, which will be published in Spring/Summer 2020.

Call for Sites - Housing

Call for Sites – Housing closed on 20th January 2020.

Please note if you have any further sites that you wish to submit they will now only be accepted at the Preferred Option Consultation stage, which is likely to be May/June 2020

If sites are identified as being deliverable/developable through the SHLAA they can be considered as a potential housing allocation in the new Local Plan (2017-2035) if their development accords with the Local Plan strategy. A list of sites which have already been put forward and are currently being assessed, along with the methodology for assessment, can be found in the Interim SHLAA document. Further information is available on the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment page.

If you have previously submitted a site, and it is listed in the Interim SHLAA, please complete Part 2 of the Call for Sites form below to confirm that you still wish your site to be considered. You do not need to resubmit the site again. If you would like to give us any further information regarding the site, please complete Part 1 of the form. If you no longer wish your site to be considered please complete Part 4.

If you wish to submit a new site for consideration please complete Part 2 of the Call for Sites form which must be accompanied with a site location plan showing the site edged in red.   

The Call for Sites form is available here. Please submit completed forms to the Strategic Planning team at the address above.

Call for Sites - Non Residential Uses

Call for Sites – ‘Non Residential’  This ‘Call for Sites’ closed on Sunday 16th February 2020

Please note if you have any further sites that you wish to submit they will now only be accepted at the Preferred Option Consultation stage, which is likely to be May/June 2020

The Council has run a ‘Call for Sites’ to identify land that may be suitable for future allocation for: 

  • Employment use
  • Gypsy and traveller site
  • Other non-residential uses

At this time the Council does not have specific detail for the amount of land and sites that may be required across the borough for the above uses therefore, to inform future employment/economic needs land requirements,  the Council will shortly commission an Economic Development Needs Assessment (EDNA).  Additionally a Cumbria wide Gypsy and Traveller Needs Study is also being commissioned to identify what needs there are for new sites/additional pitches across the County and for each district.   Once the studies are complete the Council will then have the necessary evidence to understand what additional land will be required and therefore be in a position to assess the potential of sites for either employment use or as a gypsy and traveller site and potential allocation.

The Current Development Plan

The Core Strategy and Development Management Policies DPD (adopted 5 December 2013) forms the main part of the Development Plan for the borough.  The Council will also continue to have regard to the remaining ‘saved’ policies from the Copeland Local Plan 2001-2016 (adopted 2006) relating to specific areas of land (which will be reviewed in the Local Plan).

The Copeland Local Plan is currently made up of the following statutory planning documents which are used as the basis for determining planning applications:

The documents above can also be viewed at Copeland Borough Council Offices, The Copeland Centre, Catherine Street, Whitehaven and libraries across the Copeland borough.

On the 9th May 2017, Copeland Borough Council announced that it cannot demonstrate a five-year supply of housing sites. The Council accepts therefore that “policies for the supply of housing” set out within the Copeland Local Plan 2013 – 2028 (Core Strategy and Development Management Policies) will no longer be deemed up-to-date; and these policies carry less than full weight in decision-making.  This position is currently under review.

The 5 Year land Supply position as of 1st April 2016 can be located below.  This document is currently being updated;

To support and encourage sustainable development in the short term the Council adopted an interim housing policy.


Other Key Planning Documents

The following key planning documents support the Copeland Local Plan:

  • Supplementary Planning Documents - cover a range of issues and provide further explanation or detail as to how a policy in the Development Plan should be implemented and are a material consideration in making decisions on planning applications and will therefore carry significant weight in decision-making.




  • Annual Monitoring Report (AMR) assesses the implementation of the Local Development Scheme and the extent to which policies in the Local Plan are being successfully implemented. The Council is in the process of updating it’s AMR which will cover the period 2014/15 to 2018/19