This introduction is aimed to give you a broad understanding of the Local Plan and its various stages of development.

The Cheltenham Borough Local Plan is one of the most important documents published by the council. It deals with development, helping to conserve the special environment of Cheltenham and identifying land which will be needed for future development. The policies set out in the plan influence decisions on planning applications and support the council's proposals for managing traffic in the town. The Local Plan was adopted in June 2006.

The Local Plan has been subject to four statutory rounds of consultation between 2002 and 2004 which have resulted in changes to the plan. A public local inquiry into the Local Plan was held in November 2004 and heard by an independent inspector who produced a report on his findings that can be found on the Public Inquiry web pages. The borough council considered each of the inspector's recommendations and resolved to make further modifications to Cheltenham Borough Local Plan Second Review.

On 29 June 2006, the council adopted the Cheltenham Borough Local Plan Second Review which replaced the First Review of the Local Plan adopted in December 1997.

On 27 March 2012, the government published the National Planning Policy Framework. Since this time due weight should be given to policies in the Cheltenham Local Plan 2nd Review according to the degree of consistency with the framework (the closer the policies in the plan, the greater the weight that may be given).