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A development plan is an aspect of town and country planning in the United Kingdom comprising a set of documents that set out the local authority's policies and proposals for the development and use of land in their area. The development plan guides and informs day-to-day decisions as to whether or not planning permission should be granted, under the system known as development control or development management in Scotland. In order to ensure that these decisions are rational and consistent, they must be considered against the development plan adopted by the authority, after public consultation and having proper regard for other material factors. Legislation requires that decisions made should be in accordance with the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise. Although development plans do not have to be rigidly adhered to, they provide a firm basis for rational and consistent planning decisions. (via Freebase)