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Developing our new Local Plan

Due to Coronavirus we are having to change the way we work on the new plan. Work is continuing on the Plan and evidence base, in particular the options for change that will be proposed. Consultations that would have taken place will be conducted differently and will take place later than originally planned.

We are currently preparing a new Local Plan for the Forest of Dean District which will replace the existing plan. The local plan will:

  • set out how the Forest of Dean will develop over the next 20 years to 2041
  • help deliver new homes and jobs
  • safeguard the environmental assets we value

The Local Plan will allocate land for new housing and employment, to provide for the future needs of local communities. It also sets limits to the extent which towns and villages can grow into the surrounding countryside.

It provides strategies on how to protect the places we care about, like historical buildings, parks and town centres. It also guides the design of new places so that they are pleasant, attractive and respond to local needs.

Stages of Local Plan development

The Local Plan preparation must follow a number of stages to ensure the local community and stakeholders are fully engaged in the process. A sustainability appraisal accompanies the local plan, it examines how the emerging Local Plan performs against stated environmental, social and economic objectives.

Issues and options

The development of issues and options in 2019 was the first opportunity for residents, businesses and other interested parties to be involved in planning for our future.

Preferred Option

We have taken into account the feedback from the issues and options stage and in 2020 we developed a preferred option. It is a preferred strategy and references general locations for major development. It is still subject to evaluation including possible alternatives, potential sites and policies. At this stage specific sites are not identified although general areas considered appropriate for some of the development are mentioned. 

Draft Local Plan 

Your views on the Issues and Options and preferred option, along with the evidence that supports the Local Plan and the outcome of the Sustainability Appraisal will be used to develop our new Local Plan. We will ask for your comments on the draft plan in Autumn 2022. After this consultation we will update the draft plan based on your comments and agree a publication version.

Publication draft of the Local plan

The publication version of the plan is the final version that will be submitted to the Secretary of State. This is a stage where we request more formal comments and the comments made form part of the evidence used in the public inquiry and examination of the plan which follows. Only comments received at this stage will be considered by the Inspector during the examination.

The publication version of the plan will be made available for formal representations in Spring 2023.

Submission and Examination stage

The plan will be submitted for examination in Autumn 2023, so it can be examined and formally adopted by the council.


The Inspector may direct that a plan be withdrawn, but will generally guide the examination to a point where he or she can recommend changes to the plan needed to make it sound (able to become part of the development plan). The plan will be adopted and given full weight in planning decisions.