Overview - Local Plan Support

Welcome to Planning Advisory Service’s (PAS) Local Plan support programme. We are grant funded by the Department for Levelling Up, Homes & Communities (DLUHC) to provide advice and support to Local Planning Authorities that are making or reviewing their Local Plan. Our support ranges from a friendly catch-up with our experienced team to a more hands-on support and advice from PAS and its expert partners.


Planing Advisory Service offers critical friend support to Local Planning Authorities on the following broad plan-making activities:

Project/programme management
This support provides Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) with an assessment of the suitability and effectiveness of the project programme, project plan, and resources they have in place for delivering the production/review/update of their Local Plan. The aim of the support is to keep the project management of the Local Plan on track. Support includes an appraisal/assessment of the:

  • achievability of the schedule/timeline/LDS
  • level of project and programme sponsorship
  • key tasks and milestones identified for the main work packages
  • specific risks to the timetable and how these can be managed and mitigated.
  • Governance and reporting arrangements

Duty to Cooperate
Still a requirement and still an area that many local plans find tricky. We are providing an appraisal/assessment of the scope, suitability, effectiveness and application of a council’s the approach to / processes for meeting the duty to cooperate. 

Support includes an appraisal/assessment of how each council has met the requirements of:

  • Section 33A of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (PCPA 2004) that requires strategic policy-making authorities to cooperate with each other, and other bodies, when preparing, or supporting the preparation of policies which address strategic matters. 
  • The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) requirements relating to maintaining effective cooperation and the production of statemnents (s) of common ground, throughout the plan-making process.
  • satisfying Inspectors at examination that the authority has met the Duty to Cooperate by engaging with neighbouring authorities and other bodies “constructively, actively and on an ongoing basis”.

Evidence Base 
Preparing a Local Plan is a complex project. It involves a number of stages and associated tasks. One of the fundamental tasks is the scoping, preparation and creation of up-to-date evidence. A clear, concise relevant and proportionate evidence base is a cornerstone of efficient and sound plan-making. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out the requirement for the preparation and review of all policies to be “underpinned by relevant and up-to-date evidence.

This is arguably the most real resource intensive and time consuming part of the plan making process. We are helping councils reviewing the overall approach to scoping, creating and interpreting the evidence base, and a view on its fitness for purpose. Plus reviewing and providing advice on specific/specialist evidence base topics or providing advice to stakeholders e.g. members

Talk to PAS
Our grant fund pot isn't bottomless and while we can't pretend to be able to help and support every council, we are open to hearing from all councils that are postively preparing plans. If you think any of the above would be useful and would like to find out more please contact Martin.Hutchings@local.gov.uk