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Developing our new Local Plan

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.

Second Preferred Option

Taking into account feedback received from the Issues and Options and Preferred Option consultations, we developed and consulted on a Second Preferred Option strategy, which supersedes the first. It is, however, 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 development are referred to. The consultation ran from August 2022 to October 2022.

A revised Local Plan strategy has been agreed which will now be the subject of a draft plan for consultation in 2024.

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 Spring 2024. 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 2025.

Submission and Examination stage

The plan will be submitted for examination in Summer 2025, 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.