Development briefs and masterplans

About development briefs and masterplans

Development briefs and masterplans assist in ensuring new developments are designed to the highest possible quality.

A development brief allows stakeholders and residents to influence the design of a development from the outset. It sets the parameters for a development in order to guide future planning applications and includes:

  • an explanation of how the site meets national and local policies and guidance
  • the identification of any constraints and opportunities on and around the site and how they will be addressed
  • the vision, objectives and key principles for the development

Policy HQ9 in the emerging Central Bedfordshire Local Plan (PDF 16.2MB, page 271)  introduces a requirement for new sites of more than 300 dwellings to produce a development brief. Smaller sites may also be required to prepare a development brief where there are complex or sensitive issues such as:

  • listed buildings, conservation areas and non-designated built heritage assets of local importance and/or their setting
  • the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
  • heritage assets with archaeological interest and/or their setting
  • sites in multiple land ownership, where coordination between parties will be required to ensure the delivery of a high quality, coherent development
  • mixed-use sites where consideration needs to be given to their integration into the surrounding area, for example urban regeneration sites within settlements

We will endorse development briefs before the planning application is determined and, once endorsed, it will be a material consideration in the determination of future planning applications.

Our guidance for development briefs and design codes helps with the preparation of these. This guidance was adopted as technical guidance for development management purposes on 4 February 2020.