CP0236 - Planning Law and Practice

SchoolCardiff School of Planning and Geography
Department CodeCPLAN0
Module CodeCP0236
External Subject CodeK400
Number of Credits20
Language of DeliveryEnglish
Module Leader Dr Neil Harris
SemesterAutumn Semester
Academic Year2014/5

Outline Description of Module

The module is designed to:

  1. Provide students with an understanding about the basis of law and the legal principles governing planning practice in England and Wales;
  2. Introduce students to the key planning policy instruments used by governments at central, regional and local levels of the planning system;
  3. Familiarise students with the range of instruments and controls available to planners to regulate development.

The module is delivered in both the Autumn and Spring semesters. The module comprises a series of lectures in the Autumn semester that primarily address matters of planning law, complemented by some interactive, workshop-style sessions. The material in the Spring semester is focused on understanding the planning policy framework and the practical operation of the development management system. At the end of the module students will have a good understanding of the British statutory planning system.

On completion of the module a student should be able to

  1. Define the legal principles that form the basis for the control of development by citing relevant statutes and case law in support of reasoned advice given to a client;
  2. Explain the relationship between planning law and professional practice by stating the advantages and disadvantages in the operation of and implementation of the law in practice and by making recommendations on desirable changes in law and procedures.
  3. Correctly identify and interpret different planning policy documents by defining the relevance of different planning policies to a particular planning decision and balancing the significance of those policies against other material considerations;
  4. Explain  the relationship between planning policy and development control by explaining the role and importance of development plans in development control decision-making and assessing the effectiveness of different planning policies.

How the module will be delivered

Learning and teaching comprises of:

Lectures will include opportunity for interaction and discussion, as well as scope for addressing current issues arising in professional media or live consultations.

Skills that will be practised and developed

The skills that will be practised in this module include:

  1. Writing clearly and concisely and producing written material to a professional standard;
  2. Expressing arguments orally through contribution to informal group discussion in lectures.
  3. Correctly identifying and interpreting case law and applying this to a specific case or situation.
  4. Application of legal reasoning and argument, including distinguishing between facts and values.
  5. Correctly interpreting sources of planning policy and their relevance to particular circumstances, including judgments on the weight to be applied to different policies.

How the module will be assessed

The first part of the module is assessed by an 'open book examination' towards the end of the Autumn semester. This will comprise an assignment issued with a short period for completion and submission (approximately 3-4 days). The second part of the module is assessed by one item of coursework to be completed in the Spring semester. 


The 'open book examination' is scheduled for the end of the Autumn semester. This will take the form of an assignment where students will be issued with a task that will need to be completed within a short time period (for example, within 3-4 days of issue). The module also provides the opportunity to complete a formative, in-class exercise designed to support students’ learning and their preparation for the first piece of coursework.

The second assignment assesses students’ ability to interpret the various factors that are taken into account in an individual planning decision. Students review a planning decision to evaluate the significance given to competing considerations. The second assignment is to be undertaken in the Spring semester and a brief will be issued at the beginning of the Spring semester.

Type of assessment



(if applicable)

Approx. date of Assessment

'Open book examination'


Advising a client on a planning scenario

2000 words




Review of a planning decision

2000 words


The opportunity for reassessment in this module

 Students are permitted to be reassessed in a module which they have failed, in line with the course regulations. The reassessment will usually take place during the summer.

Assessment Breakdown

Type % Qualifying Mark Title Duration(hrs) Period Week
Written Assessment 50 N/A
'open Book Examination' - Coursework
N/A 1 N/A
Written Assessment 50 N/A
Coursework (2000 Words)
N/A 1 N/A

Syllabus content

Essential Reading and Resource List

The key textbook for this module is

 Additional academic reading relevant to individual lectures or workshops will be issued in sessions.

Background Reading and Resource List

Policy and practice materials will also be used to supplement academic materials. This material is easily accessible via government and related websites and accessed via selected links through Learning Central. References to this material will be issued in individual sessions.

Other important referenceresources include the Journal of Planning and Environment Law and the Encyclopaedia of Planning Law and Practice. Additional online resources for accessing case law materials will be introduced to students in the module.

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