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Planning policies

  • Planning, conservation and building control

How planning decisions are made

Planning decisions are made by referring to a comprehensive framework of policies adopted over the years that outline what sort of borough we want to live in. These policies sit within a larger network of regional and national policies that we must also consider.

When considering an application we will look at policies which are about the area you live in and but we will look at policies we have adopted which are about particular issues which we think are important.

This section highlights the main elements that you may be interested in. It is likely that this will mainly be of interest to developers and building professionals.

The Local Plan

The Local Plan is a portfolio of documents that works in conjunction with national policy and the Mayor's London Plan to form the development plan for the borough. It sets out a framework for how development and growth will be managed in the borough including where new homes and infrastructure will be located and how new jobs will be created.

The Local Plan has replaced policies in the Unitary Development Plan (2006) with the exception of 13 saved policies for Brent Cross and Cricklewood (These policies are contained within Chapter 12 of the UDP which can be found in the downloads section at the bottom of this page).

The Local Plan includes a suite of Development Plan Documents (DPDs) and Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs):

  • The Core Strategy DPD which sets out our vision, objectives and related strategic policies
  • The Site Allocations DPD which identifies future sites for development
  • The Development Management Policies DPD which sets out the policy framework for decision making on planning applications.
  • The Mill Hill East Area Action Plan (adopted January 2009).
  • The Colindale Area Action Plan DPD (adopted March 2010).
  • The emerging North London Waste Plan DPD.
  • A number of Supplementary Planning Documents and Design Guidance notes which provide more detailed guidance on determining planning applications and S106 requirements.
  • The Local Development Scheme for Barnet which sets out the timetable for the above documents.
  • The Statement of Community Involvement which sets out the principles on how Barnet will consult with the community.
  • The Authorities Monitoring Report which assesses the performance of the Local Plan and identifies significant trends affecting Barnet.        

Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs)

These documents do not form part of the statutory development plan, however they provide further detailed guidance on policy topics such as:

SPDs are subject to public consultation and are an important consideration in planning decisions.

Town Centre frameworks and strategies

Town Centre Frameworks or strategies form the basis for managing and promoting positive change in identified town centres. These documents do not form part of the statutory development plan, but they are identified in the Local Plan as a way of improving for town centres.  Town Centre Frameworks and Strategies are subject to public consultation and are also a material consideration in taking planning decisions.

Area Action Plan

An Area Action Plan (AAP) is a statutory planning document which forms part of Barnet’s Local Plan. It provides policies and guidance which will be used in the consideration of development proposals in a specific area within the borough and will be a material consideration in the determination of planning applications in the area.

The preparation of AAPs is based on the policies and proposals set out in the borough's Local Plan. However, they also reflect recent national and regional planning policy guidance set out in the National Planning Policy Framework and the Mayor's London Plan.

Adopted AAPs and Development Frameworks

Design guidance

These documents have been published to assist the public in designing their development proposals. Below is a list of guidance notes currently available.

Planning Obligations SPD

In accordance with Regulations 11 and 14 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012, notice is given here that Barnet council’s cabinet adopted the Planning Obligations SPD on 18 April 2013. The Residential Design Guidance and the Sustainable Design and Construction SPDs were also adopted on the same date.

The Planning Obligations Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) will sit beneath and implement Local Plan policies in the Core Strategy and the Development Management Policies setting out borough-wide requirements and best practice planning guidance. The SPD will be used as a material consideration and help inform decision making by the planning service and planning committees.

A Planning Obligation (also known as Section 106) is a legally binding agreement made between the developer and the council which is drafted where necessary to make an application acceptable in planning terms. The Planning Act 2008 and subsequent Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations (as amended) introduced the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) as a new method of raising money for infrastructure from development. CIL is considered to be fairer, more certain and transparent.

The Planning Obligations SPD focuses on when Planning Obligations will be required and the relationship with CIL. It sets the requirements for different scales of development as well as the procedural process for delivering a legal agreement.

The SPD replaces the Planning Obligations SPD which was first published in 2006 and the Interim Guidance Note Responding to the Recession: Bringing Flexibility to S106 Planning Obligations published in September 2009. It also replaces the following SPDs – Contributions to Education, Contributions to Health Facilities and Contributions to Libraries.

In the context of the adopted CIL in Barnet the Planning Obligations SPD helps clarify the site specific or local circumstances when Planning Obligations will be used.

The following planning issues are covered:

  1. Physical infrastructure: transport impact mitigation and travel plans
  2. Social infrastructure: public open space, outdoor amenity space and children’s play space requirements
  3. Social infrastructure: community, health and educational facilities
  4. Green infrastructure: environmental requirements in relation to air quality, noise pollution and biodiversity

Further types of contributions may also be relevant to your scheme. The best way of being certain of the negotiated contributions that will apply to a planning application is to discuss these in a pre-application advice session.


  • Strategic Planning
  • Barnet House, 1255 High Road, Whetstone, London N20 0EJ
  • Tel: 020 8359 3000
  • FAX: 0870 889 6819
  • Email: forward.planning@barnet.gov.uk

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