Planning Committee

Planning committee is a significant investment of time and resources for most councils, and requires the close coordination of planning, democratic services and legal teams. It is an important shop window for the council and plays a crucial role in providing democratic and transparent decisions on sometimes controversial issues.

PAS has developed a new training package for Planning Committee and Planning Officers to complement the defendable decision making training.  It involves a practical exercise where a fully worked through case study is used for a Major housing development.  The Planning Committee is asked to consider the planning application using a fictitious case officer report and to debate the merits of the proposal as if they were actually considering the planning application for real.  Depending on the decision the Planning Committee reaches a series of learning points will be discussed with the Members and Officers.  In true PAS style there are a few tricks and potential pitfalls to overcome. 

The training session can be facilitated by one of the PAS Team or one of our consultants using a Member Peer to chair the Member debate.

If you would like PAS to set up a training session for your Planning Committee please contact Peter Ford at

In response to Covid-19, we created a "hints & tips" guide to running a virtual planning committee. Planning Committees have now gone back to live events, but as we live in an uncertain world we have retained this guidance in case legislation changes. 

Accompanying the 'hints and tips' is a guide to help you revise your protocols and procedures for the mechanics of running a committee. You can use it as a starting point, and then localise it to reflect how your committee runs. 

What are planners and politicians saying?

In our view it is essential that councils continue to run robust and legally sound processes. However alongside observing the letter of the law it is important to remember the spirit. It is not easy, but planning must continue to be transparent and fair. In this series of "fireside chats" Martin Hutchings talks to some of our councillor peers and officers to explore what is in their minds. We are very grateful to:

Probity in planning: Advice for councillors and officers making planning decisions

This 2019 guidance is an update to the 2013 version of the Local Government Association’s Probity in Planning. It clarifies how councillors can get involved in planning discussions on plan making and on applications, on behalf of their communities in a fair, impartial and transparent way.