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Spatial Development Strategy


“We are working hard to make sure that the Liverpool City Region is the best possible place to live, work, invest in and visit.

As part of that work we are creating a Spatial Development Strategy that will help shape our city region for the next 15 years.

When I first ran to be Mayor, it was because I was excited by the potential for more decisions to be taken locally and for local people to have a much bigger say about the future of their communities.

With ‘LCR Listens: Our Places’, we’re putting local people’s views front and centre when it comes to developing the region’s policies. Your views will help us make important decisions about the future of everything from jobs and transport, to health and housing the right way across our region.”

Steve Rotheram signature






Steve Rotheram
Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor

Our Spatial Development Strategy

“Our Spatial Development Strategy gives us the opportunity to demonstrate devolution in action.

It will help set out how our city region develops over the next 15 years and will have an impact on many aspects of our lives.

Our job is to improve the lives of the 1.6 million people of the Liverpool City Region and, by listening to what people tell us is important to them, we are determined to develop a Spatial Development Strategy that makes a crucial contribution to that improvement.”



Cllr Graham Morgan,
Portfolio Holder for Housing and Spatial Framework

What is the Spatial Development Strategy?

The Spatial Development Strategy (SDS) is a statutory land-use planning document. It will set out a framework for building and development in the LCR looking ahead for at least the next 15 years.

When it is finalised, it will form part of the ‘Development Plan’ for the city region along with Local Plans and Neighbourhood Plans. This means it will need to be considered when planning applications are being determined.

The SDS must only deal with planning matters that are of strategic importance to the Liverpool City Region. These may not affect all areas, but will have significance for the wider interests of the city region.

The SDS will therefore be high level leaving more detailed, locally specific policies to be covered in Local Plans prepared by the local authorities, reflecting their local circumstances. Key strategic planning matters include:

  • Housing
  • Economy and employment
  • Town centres
  • Infrastructure
  • Natural and historic environment

To meet legal requirements, the SDS will need to have regard to:

  • The National Planning Policy Framework (setting out the national government’s policies on planning);
  • The health of people in the Liverpool City Region and the effect of the SDS on health inequalities;
  • Achieving sustainable development in the United Kingdom;
  • Climate change and its consequences; and
  • The need to ensure consistency with national policies and the EU obligations of the United Kingdom.

The SDS must also set out how spatial development aspects of other LCRCA policies and proposals will be dealt with. This will allow the SDS to support and deliver a range of key Mayoral Combined Authority objectives and priorities such as growing the economy, employment and skills, housing, transport, innovation, the environment and culture as part of an integrated, joined-up approach.

What’s happened so far?

The Metro Mayor and Combined Authority are committed to ensuring local people have opportunity to genuinely influence policy and decision making. It is important that the SDS is prepared and shaped with input from the people, communities and businesses who it will affect.

Early stages of public engagement on the SDS, as part of the ‘LCR Listens – Our Places’ programme, have provided valuable feedback on the key strategic planning challenges facing the city region and the opportunities to address them. This has helped develop a proposed vision and objectives, and some initial suggested policy approaches. Details of engagement carried out so far are available at:

Emphasis has been placed on engaging with groups who do not typically respond to planning related consultations, particularly younger people. The SDS has so far been successful in receiving feedback and views from a wide cross section of the LCR community.

For further details see ‘Our Places’ documents below.

What’s next?

The next stage of the SDS’s preparation will build on both previous feedback and the evidence base to present more detailed policy proposals and options. This will take the SDS one step closer to completion and continue to make sure it is shaped positively and meaningfully through engagement with communities, businesses and stakeholders.

Key themes

Climate Change
and Environment

The Metro Mayor and Combined Authority have set the ambition for the LCR to be the cleanest, greenest city region in the country, promoting a balanced and sustainable land use strategy. The LCRCA has declared a Climate Emergency and is committed to making the City Region net zero carbon by 2040.

Health and

The Metro Mayor and Combined Authority have set out the ambition to address health issues by encouraging healthy and active lifestyles, promoting sport, walking and cycling, supporting lifestyle changes, tackling childhood obesity and by being an advocate for mental health and dementia.

Prosperous and
Inclusive Economy

The Metro Mayor and Combined Authority have set the ambition for the City Region to punch its weight on the national and international stage, and for a prosperous economy that creates wealth for our nation and opportunity for our people. The LCRCA is committed to creating a high-skill, high-value economy, and to being an exemplar for a fair, progressive and sustainable economy.

Placemaking, Communities
and Housing

The Metro Mayor and Combined Authority want to promote good design, support concerted action to improve the quality and attractiveness of neighbourhoods and develop a sub-regional spatial strategy to ensure new homes are eco-friendly, energy efficient, built in the right places and ensure everyone has access to a decent affordable home.

Social Value Icon


The Metro Mayor and Combined Authority place a strong emphasis on achieving social value, with a focus on equality social justice, inclusiveness, fairness, rewarding and promoting fair and ethical business, and the use of procurement to promote social value.

Evidence and assessments

Preparation of the SDS must be based on evidence. A range of technical studies and assessments – the evidence base – is being prepared to help inform and underpin the policy approaches covering a range of topics.

Supporting assessments will be undertaken to ensure any effects or impacts on sustainability, equalities, health, natural habitats and social value are considered. See ‘Supporting Documents’.

Supporting documents

LCRCA Evidence, Research and Intelligence

LCR SDS IIA Scoping – Key Issues Summary

LCR SDS IIA Scoping Report – October 2020

RTPI Climate Resilience Report

LCR State of Nature Report (Final Draft)

LCR Natural Capital baseline Report

‘Our Places’ Documents

LCRCA SDS engagement summary report

Stage 2

Draft Vision, objectives
and suggested policy

Stage 1

Focus Group for People Living with Disabilities in Sefton report

Wirral Older People’s Parliament SDS
Focus Group

Women’s Health Information
and Support Centre SDS
Consultation 2021

Young Advisors’


University of

Report of PLACED

PLACED Digital Academy:
Summary of Feedback

SDS Older People Workshop

Keep in touch

If you wish to stay updated on future engagement and consultation on the Spatial Development Strategy, please use the button below to join our mailing list:

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