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Westminster's planning policies

A summary of the several key policies and documents that planning applications in Westminster are determined by.

Published: 25 January 2021

Last updated: 23 March 2021

Westminster's Development Plan

There are several key policies and documents that planning applications in Westminster are determined by. These make up Westminster's Development Plan and include:

  1. Westminster’s City Plan
  • ​adopted by full council on 9 November 2016
  • full weight as part of the Development Plan
  • is currently being reviewed - only very limited weight should be given to the emerging policies at an early stage of the plan-making process.

View emerging policies

2.  Unitary Development Plan (UDP) 

  • parts of this plan were 'saved' and weren't replaced by the City Plan
  • these ‘saved policies’ should not be considered out-of-date and due weight should continue to be given to relevant policies, particularly to their degree of consistency with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) - the closer the policies in the UDP to those in the NPPF, the greater the weight that should be given
  • these policies will be replaced by the revisions to the City Plan once they are adopted

3. Neighbourhood Plans:

  • Knightsbridge Neighbourhood Plan and Mayfair Neighbourhood Plan have passed referendum 
  • they are used lin determining planning applications in the Knightsbridge Neighbourhood Area and Mayfair Neighbourhood Area respectively

4.  London Plan:

  • the Mayor of London adopted a revised London Plan in March 2021

5. City Plan 2019-2040: Intend to Adopt version

  • following an independent examination by the Planning Inspectorate the council received the Inspectors’ Report on the City Plan 2019-2040 on 19 March 2021. This concludes that with the recommended main modifications, the plan is sound and compliant with legal requirements. The conclusions of this report mean that the council will now proceed towards formal adoption of the City Plan 2019-2040: Intend to Adopt version (incorporating these main modifications) at the next meeting of Full Council. Given the advanced stage in the plan-making process, all policies in the City Plan 2019-2040 will therefore now carry significant weight as a material consideration when Westminster City Council carries out its duty under s.38(6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004

Local Development Scheme

​Detailed information about the programme and proposed contents of the City Plan revision is set out in Westminster’s Local Development Scheme. The latest LDS can be viewed as a post-submission core document in Westminster’s City Plan examination library.

National Planning Policy Framework

The government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) 2012 created a structure which assists local councils in creating their own Local Plans. It is part of the government’s reforms to make the planning system less complex and more accessible.

Policies in the NPPF can be used directly to determine planning applications as a material consideration.

A revised National Planning Policy Framework was published on 24 July 2018.

Read the National Planning Policy Framework (2018) at GOV.UK

Planning for the Future White Paper

The government recently consulted on a White Paper setting out proposals on the most significant reform of the planning system in England in decades. Through this overhaul the government is seeking to deliver a quicker and simpler planning system with a clearer plan for jobs and growth. It is intended to deliver high quality and sustainable homes, speed up the process and make it more transparent. The clear emphasis is on home building and simplifying and speeding up the planning process. 

Consultation closed on 29 October 2020 - see our response: