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Local Plan Preferred Options

Welcome to the Local Plan Preferred Options Draft page

The following short video introduces the Local Plan Preferred Options Draft.

If you would like any further information, please either e-mail us: or telephone us on 01946 59 8300.

How we involve the Community in the planning process is set out in our Statement of Community Involvement

If you would like to be added to our database to be informed of future consultations, please e-mail your contact details (name, address, post code, telephone number and e-mail address) to

Copeland Local Plan 2017-2035: Preferred Options

The Council carried out a public consultation on the Local Plan Preferred Options Draft between 20th September 2020 and 30th November 2020.

The new Copeland Local Plan 2017-2035, which covers the area of Copeland outside the Lake District National Park, will:

  • Identify how much development should take place and where it should go
  • Provide guidance for high quality developments and the infrastructure required to support them
  • Allocate sites for housing, regeneration and employment
  • Identify areas which should be protected from development
  • Include policies to be used when determining planning applications

The Preferred Options documents which were made available during the consultation can be found below:

The Preferred Options have been tested to consider their potential social, economic and environmental impacts, as well as their potential impact on protected habitats.  The Sustainability Appraisal Integrated Assessment Report and Habitats Regulations Assessment can be found below: 

  • Intergrated Assessment Report and Intergrated Assessment Scoping Report - Incorporating Sustainability Appraisal Strategic Environmental Assessment and Health Impact Assessment.  Assesses the potential social, economic and environmental impacts that may arise through the policies and proposals within the Issues and Options and Preferred Options Drafts of the Local Plan.
  • Habitat Regulations Assessment Draft Report 2020 - Assesses where the proposals and policies within the Preferred Options Draft may have a negative impact on the Natura 2000 network.  This version is the consultation draft which will be considered by Statutory Consultees and then finalised.
  • Marine Conservation Zone Assessment - The Marine Conservation Zone Report considers the impacts of the Local Plan Preferred Options Draft on the relevant Marine Conservation Zones.

 The Preferred Options have been informed by the responses to the Issues and Options consultation, a number of Evidence Base studies, and Technical Reports, which can be found below:

  • Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) 2019 - Provides an assessment of future needs for both market and affordable housing, and the housing needs for different groups within Copeland’s population over the plan period.
  • Housing Needs Assessment Report 2020 - The document summarises the findings of the housing need survey 2019 and identifies housing needs in different parts of the Borough.
  • Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) 2020 - Identifies sites which may be suitable, available and economically viable for housing development, and provides evidence as to their deliverability
  • Copeland Housing Allocations Profiles 2020 - This document provides further information regarding the proposed housing allocations in the Local Plan Preferred Options Draft, including a list of known constraints to development.
  • 5 Year Housing Land Supply 2020 - This document identifies the supply of deliverable housing sites in the Borough against the housing need figure produced by the Government’s Standard Methodology and the need figure identified in the Strategic Housing Market Assessment. It also provides an update regarding the Council’s Interim Housing Policy
  • Indoor Facilities Study 2020 - (part of the Sports Strategy due in 2021): This Study assesses the need for built sports facilities in Copeland in order to guide future provision of indoor facilities to serve existing and future communities.
  • West Cumbria Retail, Town Centres and Leisure Study 2020 - Provides an assessment of retail and leisure provision in the borough and the development needs to help support economic growth in town centres.
  • Infrastructure Delivery Plan 2020 - Currently at stage 1, which identifies the known shortfalls and constraints surrounding infrastructure in the Borough. IDP stage 2 will be commissioned following the Preferred Options Consultation and will include details of what infrastructure requirements are necessary to support the Local Plan, as well as providing an Infrastructure Delivery Schedule.
  • Wind Energy Topic Paper 2020 and Appendix- Identifies an area suitable for wind energy development within Copeland
  • Development Strategy and Settlement Hierarchy Topic Paper – May 2020 - Outlines the Council’s Preferred Option surrounding the settlement hierarchy and development strategy, to identify the most sustainable parts of the Borough for development. 
  • Draft Copeland Settlement Landscape Character Assessment 2020 - A tool for identifying the features which give Copeland a sense of place, helping to aid decision making in a way that is not detrimental to the landscape character. 
  • Copeland Open Space Assessment 2020 - Outlines the provision, details and condition of Open Spaces in Copeland and makes recommendations for where open space should be protected within the Local Plan. 
  • Copeland Local Green Spaces - Outlines land allocated as Local Greenspaces as a result of recommendation within the open Space Assessment 
  • Assessment of Employment Land, Opportunity Sites and Regeneration Areas 2020 - Provides a provisional assessment of employment sites and opportunity areas for potential inclusion within the Local Plan
  • Issues and Options Consultation Response Report – April 2020 - Outlines the responses gained through the Issues and Options Consultation as evidence for the development of the Preferred Options Draft 
  • Stage One Viability Study - A high level assessment of the viability of a representative range of housing, commercial and employment development across the Borough. Stage 2 will be commissioned following the Preferred Options Consultation and will provide a more in-depth analysis of sites and their deliverability. 
  • Services Surveys - The Village Services Survey assesses the level of service prevision in all the settlements outside the 4 Main Towns in Copeland
  • The Draft Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA)  - The draft SFRA collates information on all known sources of flooding that may affect existing or future development in Copeland, including tidal, river, surface water flooding. The Council is currently in the process of updating the draft.
  • Copeland Playing Pitch Strategy – Needs Assessment 2020 - This document contains data relating to pitch provision and demand in Copeland as November 2020. Due to Covid 19 regulations in place at the time of the assessment it relates only to winter sports: football, rugby union and hockey. A statement regarding the status of the document can be found on page 3.