New PAS Advice: Evidence for Plan Making

New PAS Advice: Evidence for Plan Making

Monday 2nd March 2020

The Planning Advisory Service (PAS) has published a new advice note, 'Evidence for Plan Making: A focus upon proportionality'.

The necessary evidence base to support local plans varies and professional judgements need to be made on what is appropriate, with a vital focus on ensuring evidence supporting the local plan clearly justifies the plan's strategy and policies.

In our experience as former planning Inspectors examining local plans, a high proportion of plans are submitted with large amounts of evidence that do not appear to inform the content of the Plan, often because councils are fearful that a plan will be found unsound on the basis of inadequate justification. Similarly specialist drafting or review of a particular evidence base document is invariably formed from a highly expert perspective, which seeks to provide a full and complete appraisal against government policy and advice, industry standards and perceived good practice. This typically may go well beyond that which is necessary to inform the plan and results in the familiar 'gold plating' exercise.

In practice, the time afforded to an examiner will not usually allow him or her to read every evidential document cover to cover. The examiner will identify a number of core, critical evidence documents to read and will approach the remainder of the documents in terms of a reference source based on issues arising in the examination.

PAS, in producing this advice note, tasked IPe to work with 12 pilot local planning authorities and other planning organisations (including the Planning Inspectorate and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government) to explore the considerations around striking a balance in terms of proportionate evidence base production. The advice note includes good practice examples and templates to assist in the prioritisation and auditing of evidence and action planning.

Read the new advice note and view the templates HERE

The advice note also relates to the PAS Local Plan Route Mapper & Toolkit to support authorities to review, manage and carry out the update of a Local Plan.

April Update: IPe has been working with PAS to produce advice for local authorities on the production of the Regulation 22 (1)(c) Consultation Statement required to support the submission of a Local Plan. You can read more HERE