PAS Bulletin: Autumn workshops 2020

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7 September 2020

PAS Bulletin: Autumn workshops 2020

Find out more about our upcoming events

As we get back into the swing of work post-Summer and some of the immediate excitement of the announcement calms down we are pleased to announce the start of a programme of events helping people understand and respond to the planning white paper and the technical consultation.

Before you book I would urge you to have a think across your team to see who is best placed to go. We need participants who are happy to contribute ideas and constructive criticism, and able to give a bit of time before and after for homework and reflection. Our "grumpy" Steve is going to police the bookings and people booking more than their fair share will be (politely) bounced out.

We have been thinking about what's important to us (interactivity, genuine conversation, frank Q&A with officials) so the bulk of our events will be capped at 50 people. This allows us to break each event into four smaller workshops of about a dozen people to allow for a two-way experience.

You can find out more details on our events page but I have set out the highlights below. I would direct councillors to the overview event this Thursday 10 September – the LGA is going to have more events for members on 16 September and 1 October and will announce them here.

It's been a while since we’ve been "out and about" and it’s going to be lovely to catch up with some familiar faces. We hope to see lots of you soon.

Richard Crawley
PAS Programme Manager

Planning white paper

We are doing three things to support the planning white paper (you can see dates and times on our events page):

  • A brief overview of the reforms and the thinking behind them in an hour-long introduction by Simon Gallagher (Director of planning at MHCLG) and Joanna Avery (the new chief planner)
  • Six regional events exploring the mechanics of how the proposed new planning system will work as a whole
  • Two more specific events on the proposed national infrastructure levy that will cover how it operates and be used to deliver affordable housing and other local priorities

Update to housing numbers and local plan project management

Alongside the white paper there is a technical consultation (with a shorter timetable!) which includes some changes to the standard method for calculating housing numbers. These events will help you understand these changes and think about how they, along with the other longer-term changes proposed in the white paper, could influence how you approach your local plan and what you do next.

Planning in the OxCam arc

This event is the first introduction to the OxCam spatial framework, explaining its mechanism, timetable and transitional arrangements. It will also introduce the regional data observatory. We will be keen to hear from you about how this might be introduced alongside the work of LPAs. It is for planners and transport planners in the region (although if you are just interested and want to tag along that is probably fine)

Infrastructure Funding Statement (IFS)

Nothing to do with the white paper – councils have a new requirement to publish an Infrastructure Funding Statement in December 2020. For some councils this will be a matter of routine and something you have been doing for the Community Infrastructure Levy, for others it will be a new task and some of the guidance around producing a CSV file of data is worrying. At these events we will walk you through the IFS process as well as share some ideas about transparency and data.

Losses from COVID-19

The Government has announced a scheme to allow councils to claim compensation for lost sales, fees and charges. Your council will almost certainly be canvassing each department for accurate figures to inform the claim which we read as covering planning application fees and pre-application charges. If you are certain that the income is lost (rather than deferred) you can claim for a fraction over 90 per cent of it.

Leadership Essentials Planning Update

We are delivering one of our LGA Leadership Essentials councillor training sessions in Warwick on 5-6 November which will look at the proposed and implemented changes as part of a Planning Update for lead councillors. The two day residential course will be delivered in person (socially distanced of course) to delegates who wish to attend and we'll be offering online access for those who don't. Both sets of delegates will have the same work, access to the same speakers and undertake the discussions.

To find out more or to book a place, please email Grace Collins: 

From the blog – what to do next with your local plan

It's very easy to voice platitudes like "keep calm and carry on" but a local plan represents a significant chunk of time and money and when faced with a serious set of changes it is time to think about how best to respond. Martin sets out some ideas about what people might choose to do next as they progress through the local plan process. It's very much guesswork, but useful reading especially if you are going to attend our "housing numbers and local plan project management" event.

From the blog – a blast from the past

Our "unofficial" blog has been going for almost a decade – it's where we allow ourselves a bit more freedom to have opinions and sometimes a bit of uncomfortable honesty. We also do a bit of guessing where we're headed – in this post from back in 2016 our Martin Hutchings wondered what the planning service of 2020 would look like.

The post hasn't aged especially well and the introduction of competition via private sector providers was quietly shelved at some point. However, it's interesting to see how uncertainty over finances, the possibilities of devolution and change coming from a white paper were foremost in our minds back then.

Age-friendly and accessible homes

The centre for ageing better has a survey out to understand what needs to happen to help councils deliver accessible homes. The survey closes this week and is aimed at local authority housing and planning staff. It takes 10 minutes and for every survey complete a £5 donation will be made to The Trussell Trust, helping to end hunger and poverty in the UK.

Take part in the survey


The Knowledge Hub has been quiet of late, so instead of flagging recent posts here are some of the webinars the team have enjoyed. If you have suggestions for things to include let us know – there are definitely some good ones missing because we can’t find the recording.