A dedicated Development Plan Document (DPD) for the whole of the AONB has been prepared jointly by South Lakeland District Council and Lancaster City Council. This plan, which complements the Arnside & Silverdale AONB Management Plan 2019-24, is the first in the country to be prepared in this way to apply policies and allocations across the AONB.

The AONB DPD summarises the development and planning considerations for the area by saying that within the Arnside & Silverdale AONB housing, employment, services, infrastructure and other development will be managed to contribute towards meeting the needs of those who live in, work in and visit the area in a way that: conserves and enhances the landscape, the natural beauty, and the special qualities of the AONB; creates vibrant, diverse and sustainable communities with a strong sense of place; and maintains a thriving local economy.

The plan allocates relatively few sites for development and its policies are more restrictive towards development than elsewhere in the districts, excluding national parks. It includes a principle that 50 per cent of all new housing in the AONB on sites of two or more dwellings should be affordable, as well as principles relating to development strategy; Open Space and Key Settlement Landscapes; camping, caravanning and visitor accommodation; and water quality, sewerage and sustainable drainage in areas where there is no mains drainage.

The DPD was adopted on 13 March 2019 as part of the Lancaster City Local Plan and as part of the South Lakeland Local Plan on 28 March 2019.