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Guide to planning policy documents

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We make planning decisions using the policies in our statutory Development Plan and other material considerations. Read a list of common material considerations on the Planning Portal (opens new window).

The Development Plan 

The Development Plan is made up of: 

  • the borough's Local Plan
  • Neighbourhood Plans that have passed a referendum 
  • Waste and Minerals plans produced by Surrey County Council 
  • the remaining policies of the South East Plan 

The Development Plan contains the rules for new development in the borough. It allows us to: 

  • make sure developments benefit local residents and businesses 
  • explain our vision for future development 
  • conserve and enhance Guildford's natural and historic assets 

The Local Plan 

Local Plans list the rules for all developments in the borough. The policies come from our Local Plan: Strategy and Sites 2019 and our Local Plan: Development Management Policies 2023.

Neighbourhood Plans 

Neighbourhood Plans contain planning rules which apply to specific neighbourhood areas. 

The map below shows neighbourhood areas we have designated. Parish and town councils in these areas can make their own:

  • Neighbourhood Plans
  • Neighbourhood Development Orders

In areas without parishes, neighbourhood forums can make plans and orders.

Some of these neighbourhood areas have neighbourhood plans in place already. The other areas are producing neighbourhood plans. Read more information on our website.

If your development takes place within an area that has a Neighbourhood Plan, you must follow policies in both:

  • the Neighbourhood Plan 
  • the Local Plan

Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs) 

Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs) contain guidance for Development Plan policies. They cover issues like: 

  • developments on different types of site 
  • the design of new developments 
  • standards for new development 

Although SPDs are not part of the Development Plan, they are a material consideration when we make planning decisions.  

We also have a more detailed ​​​​​​​guide to planning policy documents (PDF) [141KB] (opens new window) , which explains: 

  • differences between DPDs and SPDs 
  • the importance of Neighbourhood Plans 
  • which policies from the 2003 Local Plan we still use, and which are replaced by the 2019 plan
  • how DPDs and SPDs are created

We welcome any questions about planning policy documents. Contact or call 01483 444471.