Planning in Buckinghamshire offers great opportunities due to its location with Greater London to the south-east, Berkshire to the south, Oxfordshire to the west, Northamptonshire to the north, Bedfordshire to the north-east and Hertfordshire to the east, together with its position in the Oxford to Cambridge (OxCam) Arc.

Buckinghamshire is one of the home counties with towns such as High Wycombe, Amersham, Chesham and the Chalfonts in the east and southeast of the county forming some of the most densely populated parts of the county. Development in this region is restricted by the Metropolitan Green Belt and the Chilterns AONB. Other large settlements include the county town of Aylesbury, Marlow in the south near the Thames and Princes Risborough in the west near Oxford. The areas around the old county town of Buckingham and near Olney in the northeast, are much less populous. The largest town is Milton Keynes in the northeast, which with the surrounding area is administered as a unitary authority separately to the rest of Buckinghamshire.

The remainder of the county is administered by Buckinghamshire Council as another unitary authority. This Unitary Authority was created in April 2020 from the areas that were previously administered by Buckinghamshire County Council and districts of South Bucks, Chiltern, Wycombe and Aylesbury Vale.

Buckinghamshire Council must produce a Local Plan within five years of coming into being, that is, by April 2025. An update on the progress of the Local Plan preparation was considered by the Growth, Infrastructure & Housing Select Committee on 7th September 2023. The report advises that the following studies are expected to be published in the next 6 – 9 months:

  • Employment and Retail Land Review
  • Strategic Flood Risk Assessment Level 1 and Water Cycle Study
  • Climate Change Study
  • Local Housing Needs Assessment
  • Self-Build Needs Assessment
  • Settlement Review
  • Landscape Character Assessment update
  • Gypsy & Traveller Accommodation Assessment

In 2021 and 2022 Buckinghamshire Council carried out Call for Sites consultations. Submitted sites can be viewed here. All sites submitted through the wider call for sites (and previous calls for sites) will be technically assessed in the Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HEELA).

In the meantime the current Strategic Planning position in Buckinghamshire is as follows:

Milton Keynes

The current Local Plan Plan:MK was adopted in March 2019. Plan:MK now forms part of the Council’s Development Plan and replaces both the Core Strategy (2013) and saved policies of the Local Plan (2005).

The adopted version of Plan:MK with, its updated Policies Maps, can be viewed here.

The Council are currently working on a new Local Plan. A new Milton Keynes Local Development Scheme was published in November 2023. Overall, the timetable to submission has been extended by six months and the Regulation 18 consultation is now programmed for late summer 2024 with the Regulation 19 consultation following in early 2025. The Council propose to submit the Local Plan for Examination before May 2025. The Council website will be updated with further information in due course.

Buckinghamshire Council

The Local Development Plans for the former Districts are as follows:

Aylesbury Vale

The Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan (VALP) 2013-2033 was adopted in September 2021. More details of this Local Plan can be viewed here.

Chiltern and South Bucks

The Local Plan for Chiltern District was adopted in 1997. The Local Plan should be read in conjunction with the Core Strategy. The Policies Map shows where the policies in the Plan are applied.

The South Bucks District Local Plan was adopted on 22nd March 1999. South Bucks also have a Core Strategy which is part of the Development Plan together with the Proposals Map.

Wycombe

The development plan for Wycombe is made up of a number of documents.

The Wycombe District Local Plan (WDLP) sets out how future development should take place for the whole area whilst the Delivery and Site Allocations Plan (DSA) – refers primarily to town centres but also contains Wycombe-wide development management policies.

The details of these documents can be viewed here.

Neighbourhood Plans are also in place at a number of villages and local areas throughout Buckinghamshire and are part of the Development Plan once they have been ‘made’.

Buckinghamshire has recently published updated 5 Year Housing Land Supply Position Statements for each area are as follows:

  • North and Central Area 4.7 years – September 2023 (updated 8 January 2024)
  • East Area 2.9 years – November 2023 (updated 8 January 2024)
  • South Area 1.3 years – November 2023 (updated 8 January 2024)
  • West Area 5.7 years – November 2023 (updated 8 January 2024)

Please contact us for further advice or to find out how your property fits into this framework for planning in Buckinghamshire.