Local Plans - Advice, Support and Scoping

May 2023 Update

If you are seeking assistance around how to proceed in the light of the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill and accompanying policy proposals for planning policy reform, we can help.

We are currently working with the Planning Advisory Service (PAS) and several authorities under two contracts to provide Duty to Cooperate and Evidence Base support for Local Plan production in England.

Over the last 7 years, IPe has provided local plan support to more than 100 local authorities (through both direct commissions and via PAS) and will be pleased to advise you on any aspects of progressing your plan.

The IPe team is committed to the plan led system and passionate about getting effective plans in place at the earliest opportunity. The IPe team has worked at the most senior examining level in the local plans system since the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 was put in place and has direct experience of how Inspectors will approach the most difficult aspects of plan examinations.

NPPF (2021) Challenges and the Duty to Co-operate

We can work with you in addressing critical NPPF challenges

  • Local plans must, as a minimum, 'seek to meet the area's objectively assessed needs' to be found sound (paragraph 35. a)). In relation to housing, how should you approach addressing your LHN?
  • Have you fully addressed your 5 year housing land supply issues? The expectation is that authorities accommodate at least 10% of their housing requirement on 'small and medium sized sites' (up to one hectare).
  • How have you dealt with the issue of green belt review - is it 'fully evidenced and justified'?
  • Can you demonstrate your plan is both deliverable and viable?

We can assess adequacy for compliance with the statutory Duty to Co-operate, including the production of Statements of Common Ground, as well as assisting on mineral and waste plans. We can further advise on evidential requirements and an approach proportionate to your issues and we can guide you on examination procedural matters.

Unique Examiner Insight

Through our practical experience we can provide an insight into how an Inspector might approach these and other key issues on submission of your plan, reducing your risk and increasing the prospect of a sound outcome. We aim to head off any problems before they arise and ensure you are equipped with a coherent strategy to deal with the most challenging issues in your plan.

Support Options

Our support can be through a number of channels to meet your needs, including:

  • Health check of your plan: We can scope your emerging or draft plan and provide a written report on areas where we think you will be vulnerable at examination.
  • One to one support: We can meet officers (at your offices or ours) to discuss issues, provide written briefing and explore likely issues you might need to address at examination. We also have considerable experience of talking directly to elected members about the tensions around the policy requirements and local considerations in plan making.
  • Tailored engagement and advice: We can discuss your particular needs around any stage of plan making and build a package of support and engagement that meets your specific requirements.
  • Appraisal of the approaches of other authorities: We can research authorities that have tackled issues in similar circumstances to yours, identify why they succeeded or failed, and assess how these approaches (including successfully argued mitigating circumstances) might be read across to assist you in developing your policies.
Local Plans