Glossary Of Planning Terms (this is a continual work in progress)

A – Z of Planning and Technical Terms and Speak



The formal process  which a planning policy becomes approved by a local Planning authority allowing it to become part of the Local Development Plan.

I could go on at length here but it seems that it takes an eternity even from the Reporters decision to adopt a Local Plan


Affordable Housing

Several sub – categories here ….. Housing provided at a cost which is considered affordable in relation to average incomes.

This term covers also Social housing provided by Housing Associations or RSLs



The process by which an applicant can challenge an adverse decision made by a local Planning authority on a planning application.

Appeals can be made against the failure of a LA to issue a decision within a prescribed period – non determination appeals.


AGLV  – Area of Great Landscape Value

Often land which you would not think is of great landscape value is thus designated nonetheless and getting it rezoned is not easy.

I find it ironic that land of ‘great landscape value’ is devalued by lines of  Wind Turbines on a hillside  behind it. You are allowed to decimate the landscape with turbines yet land to build badly needed homes is blighted by questionable landscape allocations.


Land Banking

This is the term used by normally politicians who clearly don’t understand development  or are making political excuses to describe the hoarding of land (with planning permission) by builders. What they don’t understand or want to make the public aware  is that there is a limit to the no of builders  who can achieve volume sales on large sites. You cannot sell out on all large 1000 units sites for example in 3 years with 6 builders selling houses   due to market capacity, mortgage availability etc etc. The land has to be built out on phases and there can be infrastructure constraints. Many other sites are constrained by drainage issues and access/ other issues.


Nimby    Not in my back yard

The term where people who are living in houses which were once built on land which other people objected to now become objectors themselves because they have a perceived problem with over development and impact on the community / loss of open space . The may just be losing a view which they think they have a right to but they don’t unless  they have  a ‘right of prospect’.

This is one of the biggest core issues today for new people coming onto the housing ladder – that  people see the impact on transport / education infrastructure of new communities but a lack of forward planning has got us to this crisis point in time and it will only get worse with a culture of cuts and negative planners.


Option Agreement

House builders and developers  use this to tie up green belt  land or land not allocated for development over 5-10 years to make representations to the Council with the goal of obtaining planning permission for development and normally the option holder will purchase at a figure of between 85-90 percent of market value.



Public Open Space on a housing development -n can incorporate play equipment


Promotion  Agreement

This is the alternative to the Option agreement and has advantages over the Option.


Pre – emption Agreement  – legal


RSL     Registered Social Landlord


Ransom  Strip


There is case  called Stokes v Cambridge which forms the basis of this and basically this subject matter can be pretty complicated depending on circumstances. NOTE  – this case does not strictly apply in Scotland.

This is a fascinating area of law and has huge implications for development and returns for land owners and can only be touched on here as we could devote pages and pages to this area. Ransom strips can cause lengthy delays and it all points to doing proper due diligence at the start of the process.



Sustainable Urban Drainage System

We’ve all passed by SUDS ponds without realising what they are. You see them on the sides of motorways  and new roads systems and housing estates



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