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Local Plan 'The process'

Local Plan Process

For a more in depth breakdown of the Local Plan process, see the Local Development Scheme.


2019 – 2023

Throughout the new Local Plan process the National Park Authority will be working hard to ensure that the evidence is robust and relevant. The evidence is there to justify the emerging Plan’s approach and content.

Socioeconomic Studies

Key findings

  • The population of the National Park stopped growing in 2009 after continuous expansion since 1970. It reached a peak of 24,200 people in 2008 and is now stable at around 23,400.
  • Population growth is strongly dependent on net migration into the area.  
  • The age structure is heavily skewed towards older age groups. The population over 65 has grown 45% since 2001. Pre-school, primary school and secondary school populations have all declined since 2010.
  • Projecting forwards, there are concerns about a shrinking labour force and retention of local services. Total employment has nevertheless grown since 2009, particularly within Craven district. 
  • Accommodation and food services is the largest and fastest growing employment sector. Farming is still very important with 1 in 6 jobs, even expanding since 2010. It is, however, at risk of a ‘shock’ which would have a harmful impact on the wider economy. 
  • People on rates of pay equivalent to police officers, nurses, fire fighters and teachers need more than five times their income to afford the cheapest 25% of the housing stock. This is a significant barrier to buying property in the National Park. 
  • It is projected that a housing growth rate of 50 dwellings per annum might be sufficient to counteract depopulation. Twenty need to be affordable for rent or purchase.

Below is the evidence we have already gathered for the new Local Plan.

Sustainability Appraisal

The sustainability appraisal is a statutory part of the local plan process. Its purpose is to account for social, environmental and economic considerations at each stage of preparation. The appraisal is prepared in accordance with European Directive 2001/42/EC (known as the SEA Directive) and helps informs the Authority’s policy options and detailed policy wording.

Strategic Flood Risk Assessment

Consultation No.1 – Setting the agenda

December 2019 – February 2020

This was an opportunity to tell us what you would like to see in the new Local Plan. You can find out more about our commitment to including you in the Plan-making process in the Statement of Community Involvement. A printed version of the survey was available in the winter 2019 issue of Dales, our newsletter for the residents of the National Park. An online survey was also available. 

Consultation No.2 – Exploring our options: Ambitions

August 2020 – September 2020

After having told us what you would like to see in the Local Plan, officers put together some alternative development scenarios to consider. Consultees were then invited to comment to guide the National Park Authority in drafting the first version of the new Local Plan.

Consultation No.3 – Exploring our options: Building new homes

January 2021 – February 2021

This consultation was designed to look more closely at how much new housing is required in the National Park and where it should go. It was also an opportunity for landowners and communities to submit sites for consideration through a ‘Call for Sites’ process.

Consultation No.4 – Exploring our options: Local occupancy and barns

August 2021 – September 2021

This consultation provided an opportunity to look in more detail at the current Local Plan policies controlling local occupancy and the Authority’s approach to barn conversions and consider how these could change in the future.

Consultation No.5 – Preferred Options

July 2022 – August 2022

This consultation presented the first detailed collection of draft policies and invited feedback on all aspects of the emerging Local Plan, from housing and community services to biodiversity and minerals.

Consultation No.6 – Land for Housing Development

March 2023 – May 2023

With a target to deliver 50 new homes every year between 2023-2040 (850 in total), this consultation seeks views on possible sites and boundaries for future housing development across the Park. It also considers important open spaces within towns and villages which should be protected from development.

Fine tuning

May 2023 – September 2023

At this stage we take the comments you’ve made on the Draft Plan and use them to help us write an updated version called the Publication Plan. You have the chance to make formal representations on its contents, but at this point the National Park Authority can only make minor changes. This amended version is the one which is submitted to the Secretary of State, so it’s known as the Submission Plan.  If substantial changes are needed, the Authority has to go back a stage and hold another consultation.

Testing for soundness

January 2024 – June 2024

The next stage is the Examination, when an independent planning inspector assesses whether the Submission Plan is sound and if it has been prepared in line with the relevant legal requirements. The inspector considers all of the representations made during the consultation stages and the evidence prepared by the National Park Authority. They then decide whether to hold a hearing – a round-table discussion of issues selected by the inspector.

If you make a formal representation on the Publication Plan and you don’t feel that your point has been covered by the Submission Plan, you can apply to appear at the examination hearing and give your evidence in person.

Going live


If the independent inspector decides that the Submission Plan is sound (probably subject to further modifications), the National Park Authority can adopt it and give it full weight in development decision-making. If it’s found to be unsound, the Authority will need to hold another round of consultation and re-submit an updated version of the Plan.

The success of the Adopted Plan depends on how it is implemented on the ground and the type of planning decisions it influences. The Authority has a responsibility to monitor and report on progress on implementing the Local Plan.

Contact us:

Telephone: 01969 652300


Sustainable Development Team
Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority
North Yorkshire