Neighbourhood Plan Examinations

MARCH UPDATES: Please contact us for the latest position on examiner availability.

  • Thruxton Neighbourhood Plan (Test Valley) pending submission (Examiner: Mary O'Rourke).
  • Farnham Neighbourhood Plan Review (Waverley) pending submission (Examiner: Derek Stebbing).
  • Poynton Neighbourhood Plan (Cheshire East) pending submission (Examiner: Andy Mead)
  • Chelford Neighbourhood Plan (Cheshire East) pending submission (Examiner : Mary O'Rourke).
  • Wilmslow Neighbourhood Plan (Cheshire East) pending submission (Examiner: Wendy Burden).
  • Hythe and Dibden Neighbourhood Plan (New Forest) pending submission (Examiner: Mary O'Rourke).
  • Broadstairs and St Peter's Neighbourhood Plan (Thanet) examination in progress (Examiner: Derek Stebbing).
  • Tarvin Neighbourhood Plan (Cheshire West and Chester) examination in progress (Examiner: Andy Mead).
  • Burscough Neighbourhood Plan (West Lancashire) examination in progress (Examiner: Bob Yuille).
  • Castle Cary and Ansford Neighbourhood Plan (South Somerset) examination in progress (Examiner: Jill Kingaby).
  • Gotham Neighbourhood Plan (Rushcliffe) examination in progress (Examiner: Bob Yuille).
  • Wareham Neighbourhood Plan (Purbeck) examination in progress (Examiner: Bob Yuille).
  • Loose Neighbourhood Plan (Maidstone) examination in progress (Examiner: Derek Stebbing).
  • Congleton Neighbourhood Plan (Cheshire East) examination in progress (Examiner: Jonathan King).
  • Mayfair Neighbourhood Plan (Westminster) examination in progress (Examiner: Jill Kingaby).
  • Hatfield Peverel Neighbourhood Plan (Braintree) examination in suspension (Examiner: Mary O'Rourke).
  • Several local authorities have now put in place formal contracts with IPe to provide examiners for all their neighbourhood plans.
  • For more updates please see the 'Recent Examinations' section below.

A Proportionate Approach

We fundamentally understand that the assessment of the basic conditions of a neighbourhood plan is set in a wholly different context to assessing the soundness of a local plan. It is absolutely essential that your examiner recognises that the bar for meeting the 'basic conditions', and certain other legal matters, is quite different to the rigour of meeting the local plan soundness requirements. Similarly there is no role for other material considerations.

Experienced Examiners with full Office Team Support

Unlike local plans, the appointment of the examiner is made by the local planning authority in agreement with the qualifying body. You will need to be satisfied that your chosen examiner is independent and has appropriate experience and qualifications. The examiner must also have no interest in any land that may be affected by the proposed plan.

You may have full confidence that our RTPI member Neighbourhood Plan examiners are properly assessed for each appointment to meet these requirements.

IPe examiners are fully supported by an office team who are conversant with the Neighbourhood Planning system and will manage the efficient flow of communications and documents throughout the examination.

Examination Procedure

There is an assumption in the legislation that the examination will ordinarily be carried out wholly by the Written Representation process. There is no statutory right to be heard although the hearing of evidence from parties, at the examiner's discretion, may in certain circumstances be beneficial to the examination and achieving support for the plan. In the event that a hearing session(s) is necessary, you can be certain our examiners are highly experienced in holding such procedures.

All IPe examiners follow the procedural good practice set out in Part Two of the publication, Guidance to service users and examiners. This comprehensive guidance on the examination process was produced by a sector led working party comprising examiners and representatives from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the Royal Town Planning Institute, Intelligent Plans and Examinations, Locality and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Quality Assurance of Your Report

The office team will keep you fully appraised of the progress of your examination against the agreed timetable and, when the report is drafted, will arrange for the draft report to be subject to a quality assurance check (full details available on request) by another IPe professional planner. This stage will be built into the timetable and we will agree with you a date for delivery of the final report, allowing for a period of 'fact check' by you to address any minor factual matters in the examiner's recommendations.

How effective is IPe's Neighbourhood Plan Examination Service?

"Maidstone Borough Council, in Kent, has a large number of emerging Neighbourhood Plans. We opted to employ the services of Intelligent Plans and Examinations (IPE) Ltd for a recent plan examination after some difficulties in appointing a suitable examiner through our normal procurement channel.

From initial contact, through to the issuing of the final report we found the service provided by IPE to be extremely professional. We were kept updated, and notified of the examiners unaccompanied site visit, as well as the likely timescales for his reporting. What impressed us the most was IPE's quality assurance processes as this gave us confidence in both the process and the outcome.

Another benefit was the use of IPE as the point of contact rather than engaging directly with the appointed examiner. This ensured our queries were responded to quickly, whilst allowing the examiner to continue his work unhindered.

We would have no hesitation in recommending IPE for Neighbourhood Plan examinations. They offer a highly professional, value for money service."

Cheryl Parks, Project Manager, Spatial Policy, Maidstone Borough Council

Fixed Price Examination

We offer fixed price options for your Neighbourhood Plan examination, which we believe are very competitive (if preferred, we can equally work on the traditional day rate basis). We will also provide you with a choice of examiners for your consideration.

We will undertake an initial FREE, no obligation, appraisal of the draft plan to determine its complexity for fee charging purposes. We will use several key indicators including whether it makes site allocations; the extent of the public representations and the potential need for a hearing session(s).

Recent Examinations (2018/19)

  • Report issued on Moulton Neighbourhood Plan (14 March 2019), Cheshire West and Chester. Neighbourhood Plan Examiner: Bob Yuille.
  • Report issued on Ellistown and Battleflat Neighbourhood Plan (8 March 2019), North West Leicestershire. Neighbourhood Plan Examiner: Andy Mead.
  • Report issued on Harlesden Neighbourhood Plan (14 February 2019), Brent. Neighbourhood Plan Examiner: David Hogger.
  • Report issued on Appleby Neighbourhood Plan (29 January 2019), North Lincolnshire. Neighbourhood Plan Examiner: Patrick Whitehead.
  • Report issued on Payhembury Neighbourhood Plan (29 January 2019), East Devon. Neighbourhood Plan Examiner: Mary O'Rourke.
  • Report issued on Middlewich Neighbourhood Plan (25 January 2019), Cheshire East. Neighbourhood Plan Examiner: Patrick Whitehead.
  • Report issued on Knutsford Neighbourhood Plan (18 January 2019), Cheshire East. Neighbourhood Plan Examiner: Andy Mead.
  • Report issued on Exmouth Neighbourhood Plan (31 December 2018), East Devon. Neighbourhood Plan Examiner: Jill Kingaby.

Click HERE for examinations undertaken in 2016 and 2017