Glossary of planning terms

Term                       Definition
Adoption policy   The procedure by which a plan becomes formal
Affordable Housing    Affordable housing includes social, rented and shared ownership housing, provided to specified eligible households whose needs are not met by the market, and specifically excludes low cost market housing.
Amenity Land   Land which is valued locally for its visual importance and contribution to the character of the area but may also have other uses (ie. formal or informal recreation, environmental, cultural and historical and for wildlife and nature conservation value).
Ancient Woodland    Woodland known to have existed continually in a location since before 1600.
Archaeological interest    An area which holds or potentially holds evidence of past human activity worthy of expert investigation
Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty    A formal designation of an area where planning control is based on the protection and enhancement of the natural beauty of the area
Brownfield Site    Land that has been previously developed on (excluding agricultural or forestry buildings and gardens).
Community facilities    Land and buildings used to help meet health, educational and social needs in terms of developing and maintaining the health and well-being of everyone in the community
Community Infrastructure Levy    A charge which accompanies planning applications for built development. The money is pooled to fund countywide infrastructure and local projects.
Conservation Area    An area designated under Section 69 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as being of ‘special architectural or historical interest’, the character and appearance of which it is desirable to preserve and enhance.
Core Strategy (Local Plan)    A Development Plan Document which forms part of the Local Development Framework and sets out the vision and strategic policies for the Borough.
Developer Contributions    Contributions required under a Section 106 agreement from development to be set aside for future works, services and maintenance directly related to the development.
Development Plan    Includes adopted Borough Local Plans and Neighbourhood Development Plans which are used to determine planning applications.
Environmental Impact Assessment    Evaluates the likely environmental impacts of the development, together with an assessment of how these impacts could be reduced.
Evidence base    The background information that any development plan is based on and is made up of studies on specific issues, such as play areas or housing mix, facts about an area or views from stakeholders.
Floodplain    An area of land liable to flood from a watercourse over spilling its banks, defined by the Environment Agency.
Green infrastructure    A network of green spaces and other features, such as parks, open spaces, woodlands, playing fields, allotments and gardens providing a range of quality of life benefits for the local community.
Greenfield Site    Land where there has been no previous development, often in agricultural use.
Housing Associations Independent, not-for-profit organisations that work with councils to offer homes to local people on the Housing Register.
Independent examination    Assessment taken by a third party examiner to ensure a Neighbourhood Plan meets the required conformity and legal requirements.
Infrastructure    Basic services necessary for development to take place, for example, roads, electricity, sewerage, water, education and health facilities.
Lifetime Homes    The ‘Lifetime Homes’ standards seek to make homes more flexible, convenient, safe, adaptable and accessible than most new homes, as defined in the EHDC Affordable Housing & Lifetime Homes Supplementary Planning Document
Listed Building    Any building or structure which is included in the list of ‘buildings of special architectural or historic interest.’
Local Plan    A Development Plan Document which is produced by Surrey Heath Borough Council in consultation with the community which sets out the strategic policies for the borough.
Local Referendum    A direct vote in which communities will be asked to either accept or reject the Neighbourhood Development Plan.
Low cost market housing    Private housing designed to be at a lower cost than open market housing to meet the needs of specific household groups
Material consideration    Factors which are relevant to planning such as sustainability, design and traffic impacts.
Mitigation    Measures taken to reduce adverse effects of a development. For example changing the way the development is carried out to minimise adverse effects through appropriate methods or timing.
Monitoring    Procedures by which the consequences of policies and proposals are checked on a continuous or periodic basis to assess their effectiveness and impact.
National Planning Policy Framework    Sets out national policy and how this is expected to be applied. Provides a planning policy framework for Local Plans and Neighbourhood Development Plans.
Neighbourhood Area    Area to which a proposed Neighbourhood Development Plan will relate.
Neighbourhood Plan    A local plan prepared by a parish council and community representatives for a particular neighbourhood area, which includes land use topics.
Objective    Is an aim or a goal to assist in achieving the overall vision for the area.
Open Space    All open space of public value including land, rivers, canals, lakes which offer important opportunities for recreation and can act as a visual amenity.
Permitted development    Certain minor building works that do not require a planning application.
Planning condition    A condition imposed on a grant of planning permission or a condition included in a Neighbourhood Development Order.
Planning permission    Formal approval sought from Surrey Heath Borough Council allowing a proposed development to proceed.
Qualifying bodies    Bodies who can initiate the process of neighbourhood planning eg the parish council.
Secured by Design     Is the official UK Police flagship initiative supporting the principles of ‘designing out crime’.
Shared Equity Housing    Shared equity is where more than one party has an interest in the value of the home e.g. an equity loan arrangement or a shared ownership lease.
Shared Space    Shared space is a design approach that seeks to change the way streets operate by reducing the dominance of motor vehicles, primarily through lower speeds and encouraging drivers to behave more accommodatingly towards pedestrians.
Sheltered Housing    Housing which is purpose built or converted exclusively for sale to elderly people with a package of estate management services and which consists of grouped, self-contained accommodation usually with communal facilities and normally with a warden.
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)     SSSIs are the county’s very best wildlife and geological sites. They include some of the most spectacular and beautiful habitats.
Social Housing    Subsidised housing for rent allocated on the basis of need.
Special Areas of Conversation (SAC)    SACs are site designated under the Habitats Directives on the conservation of natural habitats and of fauna and flora.
Stakeholder    People who have an interest in an organisation or process including residents, business owners and national organisations and government departments.
Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment    Environmental assessment as applied to policies, plans and programmes. This has been in place since the European SEA directive (2001/42/EC).
Supplementary Planning Document    Documents which add further detail to the policies in the Local Plan. They can be used to provide further guidance for a development of specific sites or a particularly issue
Supported Housing    As for ‘Sheltered Housing’, but designed for those with physical or learning disabilities rather than just the elderly.
Sustainable Communities    Places where people want to live and work, now and in the future. Communities that meet the needs of existing and future residents, are sensitive to their environment and contribute to a high quality of life.
Sustainable development    Development that allows growth without damaging the environment or natural resources and that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Sustainability Appraisal     Assesses the environmental, social and economic impact of a plan from the outset.
Tree Preservation Order (TPO)    A legal order which makes it an offence to cut down, top, lop, uproot or wilfully damage or destroy a protected tree without prior consent.
Village Design Statement     A document which contains a description and analysis of the distinctive features of an area and outlines design guidance for further development. Endorsed Village Design Statements can form material consideration in determining planning applications
Vision    An overarching statement or series of statements describing the aspirations of an area in 15/20 years’ time.
Windfall Sites    Area suitable for development within the terms of planning policies but are not specifically identified and the development of which is unpredictable.