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Planning policy

Medway Council has a statutory duty to prepare plans that cover the Medway area to control and regulate most forms of built development.

The power to control development comes from primary legislation (in the form of the various Town and Country Planning Acts) and is given to the council by central government. The council grants planning permission to allow developments to occur. To ensure that decisions about the granting of planning permission are seen to be fair, open and reasonable, the council is required to prepare publicly available plan(s) containing policies and proposals to guide the shape and nature of development in its area.

The Local Plan for Medway currently comprises Development Plan policies from a number of plans, including the Medway Local Plan 2003. National policy guidance is provided by the National Planning Policy Framework. These provide the policy basis for the consideration of planning applications.

Future Medway - a new Local Plan for Medway

The council is working on a new Local Plan to replace the 2003 Medway Local Plan. This will be a single document, containing strategic level and development management policies, land allocations, minerals and waste, and a policies map. The plan will cover the period up to 2035, providing for the number of homes and jobs, and supporting infrastructure, such as transport, health facilities, schools, parks that the area and its growing population needs over this time, balanced with the protection of the environment, heritage and community facilities.  Subject to outcomes of an independent examination by a planning inspector, it is anticipated that Medway’s Local Plan will be adopted in 2019. 

There is a range of evidence that has been gathered to support the preparation of the Local Plan - please see the evidence base page for more information.

Details of the timetable and process for preparing the new plan are set out in the Local Development Scheme.

Development Options Consultation

The Development Options consultation document was presented to Medway Council's Cabinet on 20 December 2016.  This was the second formal stage in the preparation of a new Local Plan for Medway and built on the work carried out in the first stage - Issues and Options.  The document provides a draft vision for Medway in 2035, setting out emerging approaches to policies to address the key issues facing Medway's communities, economy and environment. To consider options for how development land could be allocated across Medway, it also sets out a range of scenarios that could provide the basis for Medway's development up to 2035.  The council consulted on this document between 16 January and 30 May 2017.  The Planning Service is now assessing the consultation responses, to feed into the further work in preparing the new Local Plan.


Every year the Council produces a Monitoring Report which records the progress of the Local Development Scheme and the extent to which the policies set out in the Local Plan are being achieved.  All published documents relating to this can be found on our Authority Monitoring Report page.  The information published covers each year from 1 April through to 31 March the following year.

Research and Intelligence

The Planning Policy team also provides information and analysis on local demographics and development issues to support planning policy and decisions, which can be found on the facts and figures page.

Neighbourhood Planning

Alongside the Medway Local Plan, Neighbourhood Plans for parishes and other local areas in Medway, can form part of the development plan for the local authority. There are currently no adopted Neighbourhood Plans in Medway, but work is underway in preparing a Neighbourhood Plan for Cliffe and Cliffe Woods. Further details on progress can be found on the Neighbourhood Planning page.

Development Briefs, area based policies and other guidance

The council provides several supplementary planning documents to give advice on specific planning subjects and areas, to be used in conjunction with existing national and local planning guidance.

Statement of Community Involvement (SCI)

The council has prepared a Statement of Community Involvement which sets out the methods by which the community and other stakeholders will be engaged in the preparation and review of Local Plan documents.

Environmental appraisals

Under the requirements of the Planning Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 and the National Planning Policy Framework 2012 the council as the Local Planning Authority must carry out a Sustainability Appraisal (SA) of its Local Plan to help fulfil the aim of sustainable development.  This is part of the process in preparing the new Local Plan.  Further details can be found on our Environmental Appraisals page.

Further information