Cheltenham Borough Local Development Scheme

The Local Development Scheme (LDS) is the preparation timetable for development plan documents in Cheltenham borough. The latest version was adopted by Cabinet on 5 March 2022.

You can read the contents of the LDS below or download a PDF version of the LDS.

Introduction

Cheltenham Borough Council has a statutory responsibility to prepare and maintain a Local Plan for its area. This sets the planning vision for the borough and is used to determine planning applications.

As part of its ongoing responsibility, the borough council must prepare and maintain a Local Development Scheme (LDS) that outlines the timetable for the preparation and review of Development Plan Documents (DPD). Specifically, the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (as amended), sets out that an LDS must:

  • Contain a brief description of all documents which are to be prepared as DPDs and the content  and geographic area to which they relate;
  • Identify which documents are to be prepared jointly with one or more other local  planning authorities; and
  • Set out a timetable for producing and the revision of DPDs, with key milestones.

The borough council last adopted an LDS in 2017.

The Local Plan also consists of the Waste Core Strategy and the Minerals Local Plan, which are also DPDs. However, these are maintained by Gloucestershire County Council and subject to a separate LDS and are not dealt with in this document. 

The council may decide in the future to update its Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs) or develop additional SPDs to provide further guidance to support the Local Plan. However, these are not Development Plan Documents and therefore their production is not subject of the LDS.

Cheltenham’s Local Development Framework

Cheltenham Borough Council, along with Tewkesbury Borough Council and Gloucester City Council, have prepared an overarching strategic plan for the wider area covered by the three councils. This document is called the Joint Core Strategy (JCS). This was adopted in 2017.

The JCS authorities are now progressing a review of the adopted JCS, which is now called the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP). As the first formal part of this review, an Issues and Options consultation took place between November 2018 and January 2019. Further details are available on the JSP website.  Progress on the original programme was delayed due to impacts arising from the pandemic, particularly related to the evidence base needed to support the plan.

Providing more local planning policy is the Cheltenham Plan, adopted July 2020. The Cheltenham Plan and the JCS collectively make up the statutory development plan for our area.

The Development Plan is also made up of any Neighbourhood Development Plans (NDP) that are ‘made’. NDPs are developed by local communities, with assistance from the borough council. Therefore, these plans are not directly progressed by the borough council and the timescales for their development are largely dependent on local communities. As such, the LDS does not contain detail on the timescales for any emerging neighbourhood development plans.

The Joint Core Strategy

The JCS was adopted in December 2017. As outlined above, it is a co-ordinated strategic plan that sets out how the local authority areas of Gloucester City, Cheltenham Borough and Tewkesbury Borough will develop between 2011 and 2031. It sets out a spatial strategy, planning policies and strategic site allocations to deliver development needs, whilst protecting the natural and built environment.

The adopted JCS included a commitment to undertake an immediate review of the plan in relation to housing supply and retail/town centre matters. However, in response to the plan-making requirements set out in the updated National Planning Policy Framework (2019), the scope of the review will be comprehensive and provide a fully updated plan that takes account of both policy changes, our learning around garden communities and the commitment to climate change.

Members’ input will be sought throughout the process, particularly through the JSP Member Liaison Group and the Cheltenham Planning Liaison Members’ Working Group (PLMWG). The latter has cross-party membership that meets on a regular basis and has a forward plan of items to discuss and input on.

The estimated timetable for the JCS review to adoption is as follows:

Timetable for the review of the Joint Core Strategy
Milestone
Date
Issues and Options consultation
Winter 2018/19 - complete
Preferred Options consultation
Spring 2023
Pre-Submission Consultation
Autumn 2023
Submission to the Secretary of State
Early Spring 2024
Examination
Summer 2024
Adoption
Early 2025

More information can be found on the Joint Core Strategy website.

Cheltenham Plan 

The Cheltenham Plan sits underneath the strategic-level of the JCS and provides the local-level development strategy for the Borough. The Cheltenham Plan helps to meet the level of growth set out in the JCS by providing specific policy guidance for new development in the area and make smaller-scale local allocations. The policies in the Cheltenham Plan set out specific requirements for new development and provide more detail on local issues than the policies in the JCS.

National policy requires that local plans be reviewed every five years. In order to meet this target work on the Cheltenham Plan review will begin in 2022. The review will have to conform to the strategic policies in the updated JSP so it can only be adopted post JSP adoption. However, it is possible to progress the Cheltenham Plan as the JSP moves through its various stages. The table below gives an indication of a timeline for the Cheltenham Plan.

Timeline for the Cheltenham Plan
Milestone
Date
Issues and Options consultation
Spring 2023
Preferred Options consultation
Autumn 2023
Pre-Submission Consultation
Early Spring 2024
Submission to the Secretary of State
Summer 2024
Examination
Early 2025
Adoption
Late 2025

Other planning documents

Neighbourhood Development Plans

At the time of writing, there are no ‘made’ Neighbourhood Development Plans although a number of Parish Councils or Neighbourhood Forums are actively working towards an NDP. Further information for communities that may wish to develop their own NDP can be found on our neighbourhood plan web pages.

Supplementary Planning Documents

As noted above, the borough council has a number of extant Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs). SPDs provide clarity and guidance to help aid the interpretation of policies contained within DPDs. A number of these documents have become out of date and in need of a review. A programme for review is underway which will also look at any gaps in implementation of the Cheltenham Plan that could be assisted by the preparation of new SPD.  This review will be completed by Summer 2022 and a programme of preparation and/or review agreed. 

Additionally, a new climate change SPD has been prepared and underwent public consultation in March 2022. You can view the climate change SPD consultation for further information. The final version of the document is expected to be adopted in April 2022.