Wealden District Council
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Glossary of Planning Terms

Ancient Woodland

Woods which have had continuous woodland cover since at least 1600AD, and which have only been cleared for underwood or timber production. Provisional inventories of these woods have been produced by English Nature and are available at its regional offices.


Natural underground water reservoir.

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

Areas of high visual quality designated by the Countryside Commission as being of national importance. Wealden District covers parts of the Sussex Downs AONB and parts of the High Weald AONB.

Article 4 Direction

This provides the Council with powers in specific cases to withdraw the benefit of permitted development status granted under the General Development Order (see also General Development Order and Permitted Development). These generally require the approval of the Secretary of State. However, the Council itself may approve a direction under Article 4(2) which removes certain permitted development rights from dwelling houses within Conservation Areas for such development which fronts a highway, waterway or open space.


The mass, usually defined by dry weight, of all living organisms in an area or ecosystem.

Brownfield (or Previously Developed) Land

Land which is or was occupied by a permanent structure (excluding agricultural or forestry buildings) and associated fixed surface infrastructure. The definition includes residential gardens but does not include parks, recreation grounds and allotments (see Annex C of PPG3, Housing).

Business Uses

Uses falling within Class B of the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987, including as offices (other than professional or financial services) for the research and development of products or processes, any industrial process, or storage or distribution.


Government statement which, together with Planning Policy Guidance Notes, provides advice and guidance on matters of policy and procedure.

Community Infrastructure Levy

The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) enables local authorities to raise funds from new development to help deliver infrastructure.


Steps required to be taken or limitations imposed when planning permission is granted for development.

Conservation Areas

Areas defined as being of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance, and designated as such under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.

Deemed Consent

Certain ‘classes’ of outdoor advertisement can normally be displayed, within certain limits on their size and height, without application being made to the Council. These advertisements have what is called ‘deemed consent’ for their display.

Developer contributions

See Legal Agreements


The carrying out of building, engineering and mining or other operations in, on, over or under land, or the making of any material change in the use of any building or other land.

Development Boundary

These define the areas where, in principle, new development would be permitted subject to the policies and proposals in the Local Plan.


A community of interacting organisms and their physical environment.

Environment Agency

A Government agency set up with effect from April 1996, assuming the responsibilities for environmental matters previously held by the National Rivers Authority, HM Inspectorate of Pollution, and the Waste Regulation Authorities.

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

For certain projects, the Town and Country Planning (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations 1988 require a formal assessment to be carried out before planning permission may be granted. The regulations set out the type of projects where an Environmental Statement is required.

Express Consent

If an advertisement does not benefit from the provisions for deemed consent (see above), the Council’s ‘express consent’ is required before it can be displayed.

Fluvial Floodplain

Area liable to flooding by a river.

General Permitted Development Order (GPDO)

Legislation outlining planning procedures for the control of development. It excludes certain types of development from the need to obtain planning permission (see also Article 4 Direction).

GOSE (Government Office for the South-East)

Represents central government in the South East and works to influence, contract and develop government programmes and initiatives at a regional and local level.

Greenfield Lane

Land that has not previously been developed.


A public right of way for pedestrians, cyclists and possibly horse-riders, set in a landscaped corridor.


Water present in underground strata.

Heritage Coast

An area of coastline designated to promote coastline conservation and enhance visitor enjoyment.

Housing Association

Non-profit making organisations receiving funds from Central Government to provide housing for sale or rent for those in need.


The filling of a small gap within a substantially built-up frontage.


The services that support a new development or a settlement as a whole. These can range from hard engineering works, such as roads and drains, to social infrastructure, such as schools, surgeries and public transport.

Inter-Urban Route

A road, rail or bus route that connects towns and cities and provides for travel between them.

Landscape Buffer

An area planted with trees and shrubs to create a natural visual barrier.

Legal Agreement

A local planning authority may enter into an agreement with an applicant in connection with a proposed development. The agreement can contain provisions for the developer to carry out, or contribute towards, specific additional works made necessary by the development.

Listed Buildings

These are buildings of special architectural or historic interest, classified in grades (1, 2*, 2) to show their relative importance. The statutory list of such buildings is compiled by the Secretary of State on the advice of English Heritage. A listed building cannot be demolished, altered or extended without express consent from the Council.

Local Development Framework (LDF)

The new framework for delivering the spatial planning strategy for the District, introduced by the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. It comprises a portfolio of ‘Development Plan Documents’ that will replace the Local Plan and the Structure Plan.

Local Enterprise Agency

A public and privately funded, independent organisation set up to assist and encourage the development of small businesses within a defined area.

Local Nature Reserve

Any area of land designated by a local authority, in consultation with English Nature, in order to protect its wildlife value for the benefit of the local community.

Local Planning Authority

In Wealden, this is the District Council for Local Plan preparation and development control, except in the case of mineral working and waste disposal which are the responsibility of the County Council.

Local Trust Reserves

Non-statutory nature reserves managed by the Sussex Wildlife Trust.

Medieval Pale of the Ashdown Forest

An earth bank constructed in the 14th century to enclose a royal hunting ground and now defines the area within which specific Local Plan and Structure Plan policies apply.

Multi-Modal Studies

Transport-related studies commissioned by the Government to look at the challenges and issues facing all modes of future transport and how these might be addressed to serve the needs of people business and the environment.

National Nature Reserve (NNR)

An area of land of national and sometimes international importance for nature conservation, which is owned or leased by English Nature or by a body approved by English Nature.

National Park

Areas designated by the Countryside Commission, the statutory purpose of which is to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage, and to promote opportunities for public understanding and enjoyment of their special qualities.

National Planning Policy Framework

The National Planning Policy Framework sets out government’s planning policies for England and how these are expected to be applied.

Parish Council

A third tier of local government established by the Local Government Act 1972. Parish (and Town) Councils provide certain services, such as allotments, playing fields and community halls, and represent the interests of the local community to the District Council.

Permitted Development (PD)

Developments for which there is no need to obtain planning permission. These are specified in the General Permitted Development Order.

Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004

The Act, which received Royal Assent on 13th May 2004, fundamentally reforms the development plan system by introducing local development frameworks to replace structure, local and unitary plans.

Planning Brief

Guidance produced by the Council to indicate acceptable forms of development for a specific site.

Planning Obligation

A legal agreement (under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990) between a developer/landowner and the Council over the use of land in any specified way.

Planning Policy Guidance Note (PPG)

Government guidance on planning policy issues which must be taken into account, where relevant, in preparing development plans and in decisions on planning applications.

Primary Route

A highway forming part of a nationally designated network of roads suitable for long distance traffic between major centres.

Ramsar Convention

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat.

Regional Planning Guidance (RPG)

RPG provides a regional spatial strategy within which local authority development plans and local transport plans should be prepared. Existing regional planning guidance for the South East is contained in RPG9 and covers the period to 2016. RPG9 will become a statutory document under the terms of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.

Regional Transport Strategy

As part of RPG9 published by the Government Office for the South East in July 2004, the Strategy provides the spatial framework for the preparation of Local Transport Plans as well as other strategies and programmes, and is material to decisions on individual planning applications and appeals.

Retail Warehouses

Large single level stores specialising in the sale of household goods (such as carpets, furniture and electrical goods) and bulky DIY items, catering mainly for car-borne customers and often in out-of-centre locations.

Rural White Paper

Government document published in November 2000 that addresses the issues and problems affecting rural areas.

Sheltered Housing

Housing for elderly or handicapped people requiring a degree of support or assistance in their normal daily lives (usually provided by a resident warden).

Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)

An area of land or water which in the opinion of English Nature is of special interest by reason of its flora, fauna, geological or physiographical features. Once notified of the presence of an SSSI, owners and occupiers must consult with English Nature before carrying out any potentially damaging operation.

South-Coast Multi-Modal Study (SoCoMMS)

Transport study (see Multi-Modal Studies) which identifies and investigates the congestion, safety and environmental problems caused by transport along the South Coast between Southampton and Margate, and proposes measures aimed at resolving these problems and improving access to regeneration areas and other areas of economic activity. Part of this study focuses on south Wealden.

Supplemental Planning Guidance (SPG)

Additional planning guidance which elaborates upon a particular aspect of the development plan. It can take the form of design guides or development briefs, or supplement other specific policies in the Plan. A list of Council produced SPG can be found in Appendix 7

Special Protection Area (SPA)

A site identified as an important habitat for rare and vulnerable birds by the EC Directive on the Conservation of Wild Birds.

Strategic Rail Authority

On 15 July 2004 the Government announced that the Strategic Rail Authority would be wound up and its responsibilities passed to Government and Network Rail.

The Structure Plan

East Sussex and Brighton & Hove Structure Plan 1991-2011. Prepared by the County Council and Brighton & Hove Council, it sets out policies for the development and other use of land across the whole County and provides a guiding framework for the preparation of Local Plans by the District and Borough Councils.


This means ensuring that in meeting its own requirements society does not compromise the ability of future generations to meet theirs. The principle of ‘sustainable development’ is concerned with controlling and reducing damage to the environment, including longer-term interests of preserving the ozone layer and finite sources.

Targeted Programme of Improvements (TPI)

A Highways Agency programme which aims to address some of the most pressing motorway and trunk road improvements.

Tidal Floodplain

Area with a theoretical risk of flooding from the sea.

Town Council

See Parish Council

Traffic Calming

Control of the speed and movement of traffic to reduce conflict arising between pedestrians and vehicles by the introduction of features such as road humps, pavement widening, new surface materials, etc.

Tree Preservation Order (TPO)

TPOs are made on specific trees, groups of trees or woodlands to prohibit their cutting, topping or lopping, except with the express consent of the Council.

Trunk Road

A highway which forms part of the national system of routes for long-distance traffic, and which is maintained by the Government’s Highways Agency.

Use Classes Order 2005

Legislation which prescribes a number of broad ‘classes of use’ within which change can take place without the need to apply for planning permission.

Urban Capacity Study

A study undertaken by the Council, and encouraged by the Government, which establishes how much additional housing can be accommodated within urban areas through the re-use of previously developed and other land and buildings, and therefore how much greenfield land may be needed for development.


Business organisations performing a public service, i.e. water, gas, electricity, etc.


Building style or materials common to a particular locality

Windfall Sites

Sites coming forward and gaining planning permission but which have not been specifically allocated or identified in the Local Plan or any other planning document.