Neighbourhood Plan Examinations

MAY UPDATES: We are continuing to appoint examiners to neighbourhood plans and currently have good availability. In line with the practice of the Planning Inspectorate, we are now recommencing unaccompanied site visits from 13 May 2020, providing the examiner can conduct the visit safely under current physical distancing guidance.

  • Rusper Neighbourhood Plan (Horsham) pending submission (Examiner: David Hogger).
  • Thurleigh Neighbourhood Plan (Bedford) pending submission (Examiner: Wendy Burden).
  • Winkleigh Neighbourhood Plan (Torridge) pending submission (Examiner: Andrew Mead).
  • Newton Poppleford and Harpford Neighbourhood Plan (East Devon) pending submission (Examiner: Jill Kingaby).
  • Shavington Neighbourhood Plan (Cheshire East) pending submission (Examiner: Patrick Whitehead).
  • Shaftesbury Neighbourhood Plan (Dorset) examination in progress (Examiner: David Hogger).
  • Lenham Neighbourhood Plan (Maidstone) examination in progress (Examiner: Derek Stebbing).
  • West Finchley Neighbourhood Plan (Barnet) examination in progress (Examiner: Jill Kingaby).
  • Eaton Neighbourhood Plan (Cheshire East) examination in progress (Examiner: Andrew Freeman).
  • Bromham Neighbourhood Plan (Bedford) examination in progress (Examiner: Wendy Burden).
  • Queen Camel Neighbourhood Plan (South Somerset) examination in progress (Examiner: Mary O'Rourke).
  • Warfield Neighbourhood Plan (Bracknell Forest) examination in progress (Examiner: Jill Kingaby).
  • 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 (2020)

  • Report issued on the Southwater Neighbourhood Plan (15 May 2020), Horsham. Neighbourhood Plan Examiner: Derek Stebbing.
  • Report issued on the Chilbolton Neighbourhood Plan (12 May 2020), Test Valley. Neighbourhood Plan Examiner: Mary O'Rourke.
  • Report issued on the Ickford Neighbourhood Plan (17 April 2020), Buckinghamshire. Neighbourhood Plan Examiner: Andrew Freeman.
  • Report issued on the Taverham Neighbourhood Plan (16 April 2020), Broadland. Neighbourhood Plan Examiner: Derek Stebbing.
  • Report issued on the Otterton Neighbourhood Plan (8 April 2020), East Devon. Neighbourhood Plan Examiner: Jill Kingaby.
  • Report issued on the Chinnor Neighbourhood Plan Review (7 April 2020), South Oxfordshire. Neighbourhood Plan Examiner: Derek Stebbing.
  • Report issued on the Great and Little Kimble-cum-Marsh Neighbourhood Plan (1 April 2020), Wycombe. Neighbourhood Plan Examiner: David Hogger.
  • Report issued on the Peover Superior Neighbourhood Plan (27 March 2020), Cheshire East. Neighbourhood Plan Examiner: Andrew Seaman.
  • Report issued on the Clotton Hoofield Neighbourhood Plan (26 March 2020), Cheshire West and Chester. Neighbourhood Plan Examiner: Andrew Mead.
  • Report issued on the Arne Neighbourhood Plan (26 March 2020), Dorset. Neighbourhood Plan Examiner: Jill Kingaby.
  • Report issued on the Greater Carpenters Neighbourhood Plan (18 March 2020), London Legacy Development Corporation. Neighbourhood Plan Examiner: Andrew Mead.
  • Report issued on the Bletsoe Neighbourhood Plan (11 March 2020), Bedford. Neighbourhood Plan Examiner: Wendy Burden.
  • Report issued on the Histon and Impington Neighbourhood Plan (9 March 2020), South Cambridgeshire. Neighbourhood Plan Examiner: Bob Yuille.
  • The Wareham Neighbourhood Plan (Purbeck) was withdrawn from examination by the Town Council on 18 February 2020. Neighbourhood Plan Examiner: Bob Yuille.
  • Report issued on the Camley Street Neighbourhood Plan (17 February 2020), Camden. Neighbourhood Plan Examiner: Jill Kingaby.
  • Report issued on the Portland Neighbourhood Plan (21 January 2020), Dorset. Neighbourhood Plan Examiner: Mary O'Rourke.
  • Report issued on the Thruxton Neighbourhood Plan (13 January 2020), Test Valley. Neighbourhood Plan Examiner: Mary O'Rourke.

Click HERE for examinations undertaken in 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2016

Neighbourhood Plan Examinations