What is a masterplan?

This definition of a masterplan is taken from the UK government’s website.

Definition: masterplan (noun)
a comprehensive plan of action.

Masterplans set the vision and implementation strategy for a development. They provide key evidence on how development can be practically delivered and illustrate what it could look like.

They focus on site specific proposals such as the scale and layout of development, mix of uses, transport and green infrastructure. A masterplan indicates the intended arrangement of buildings, streets and the public realm.

An effective masterplan should explain how a site will be developed, describing and illustrating the proposed urban form in three dimensions. A range of other plans and technical reports may be needed alongside a masterplan, to provide supporting evidence and set out related proposals, such as a local character study, landscape assessment, transport assessment and proposals for securing biodiversity net gain (This has been promised by Rossendale Borough Council in their local plan, upon release of greenbelt).

An implementation strategy is to be included, especially where development is expected to be brought forward in a number of phases, to set out phasing, timing and funding.

How can masterplans be used most effectively?

A clear, considered masterplan, which has been developed by professionals and local people, can help produce high quality development. It should show how that form will achieve the intended vision for the place, and how a distinct and appropriate character will be created.

Masterplans are most likely to be produced by Local Authorities or Developers.

For Local Authorities, they can help to clarify design expectations early in the planning process, set a clear vision for the site, inform infrastructure and viability assessments and identify requirements for developer contributions or other investment.

Developers may produce a masterplan to help evolve their own vision for a site, assess options, engage the local planning authority and community in pre-application discussions and support an outline planning application.

Masterplans benefit from a collaborative approach between the local planning authority, site promoters and local communities.

Care should be taken to ensure that masterplans are viable and well understood by all involved and that graphic representations of what the development will look like do not mislead the public by showing inaccurate details or significant elements not yet decided upon.

Source: www.gov.uk/guidance/design#par006