GDPR; Housing Delivery Test events; planning for Gypsy and Traveller sites; and more...

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February 2021

PAS Bulletin

February 2021

I'm finally getting the feeling that we may get to see some of you over the next 12 months. Whilst we have all got used to days filled with Teams and Zoom, and, like you, I’m sure we won't be going back to our old ways of working, I can't help but feel excited about the chance of human contact in the coming year!

We are in the final stages of agreeing our programme of support for an April 2021 start. At the same time we are working to complete our present support packages for this year’s programme and there is lots happening in March as you will see below.

We have been feeling really pinched in terms of resources over recent months.We recognise that we need more people to run a support service for a planning system in transition. To this end, I have the pleasure of announcing our new PAS team members. We will be welcoming Garreth Bruff, Peter Ford, Rebecca Moberly and Shelly Rouse to our team over March and April. They bring an enormous amount of experience and we can't wait for them to join us. They will all be introducing themselves to you over the coming months and discussing the interesting work that they and the rest of the team will be doing over the coming year.

There is no doubt that this is a critical year for Local Planning Authorities. There is, as always, lots to do. We're here to help to build capacity to enable you to champion local planning.

Anna Rose
Head of PAS

General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)

Slightly over a year later than planned, we are relieved to be able to announce an update to our guide to planning and the GDPR. The guide is going to be an important reference for councils, and we are keen that we get it right. For this reason we are holding a couple of consultation events where we can walk people through it, and highlight some areas that we think are going to require changes to the way some departments operate. We'd like to flesh it out with some more case studies, so we are inviting questions and feedback on it before declaring it 'finished'. These workshops are for those of you working on the development management process and your technical and legal support. System suppliers and data people are also welcome.

Housing Delivery Test events

The 2020 Housing Delivery Test (HDT) results have been published and many LPAs will need to begin thinking about producing an Action Plan or how to deal with a 20 per cent land supply buffer or being presumption territory. Don’t forget, PAS has a recently updated How to Produce an Effective Action Plan guide which is full of helpful tips and tools. We are running a couple of events for council officers on HDT Action Plans and responding to the HDT results.

HDT and Effective decision making when in presumption
Officers are finding themselves dealing with being presumption territory via HDT for the first time and we are holding an event just for them.

HDT Action Plans for first timers
For some councils this will be the first year they need to produce an Action Plan and we are holding an event just for them.

Annual Position Statements: are they right for you?

Has your council adopted its Local Plan since March 2020? Are you considering fixing your land supply through the Annual Position Statement process? We are holding an event especially for officers working at councils who are considering doing an Annual Position Statement to help them understand the notification process to the Planning Inspectorate, using our updated notification template, and the steps involved to get to submission.

Planning for Gypsy and Traveller sites

We are running a short series of events on planning for Gypsy and Traveller sites to help launch a new piece of work we have commissioned. Some of the events will have different emphasis but generally

  • robust needs assessment
  • appropriate site provision and working across local authority boundaries
  • dealing with planning applications
  • dealing with retrospective planning applications and enforcement

We have events that provide an overview, some for policy, others for Development Management and one specifically for councillors. Please sign up to the one that best fits you.

Environmental assessment workshops

You will remember that the planning White Paper proposed improving the way environmental assessments are carried out. This could include replacing the current system (SEA, EIA and SA in the jargon) with something simpler, faster and more predictable. We are holding a couple of small workshops to work through the practical steps of a new, outcome-based approach to assessing the environmental impact of plans and developments. If you are an experienced practitioner - either on the policy or application side - we'd like to share some ideas and pick your brains. You need to be available on the afternoons of both 4 and 11 March. It's not an open invitation because we need a variety of places and planning authorities. Please email to put yourself forward. Please come along and get your voice heard.

Defra, ALGE and ADEPT Planning Biodiversity Net Gain survey: deadline extended to 3 March 

Please take part and encourage others too

If anyone hasn’t yet completed the Defra, ALGE, ADEPT Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) survey the deadline for response has been extended to Wednesday 3 March 2021. 

It’s important to provide a strong response from LPAs to Defra so a case for more resources for LPAs to support the roll out of BNG later in the year.

If you or you know of planners in neighbouring LPAs (especially those that don’t have an ecologist) please could you encourage them to respond to help to show the true picture of the expertise and capacity position for LPAs.

Strategic Planning Topic Papers

PAS commissionefd three research papers to look at the linkages, challenges and opportunities of integrating strategic planning and the key agendas of transport, the natural environment and health.

The papers highlight the present realities and challenges to integrated delivery and give recommendations to planning authorities that wish to produce integrated strategic plans.

Returners in Planning are ready to apply for council vacancies

The learners on the Return to Work - Planning programme are nearing the end of the training provided by PAS. This group have a diverse range of skills and background that would complement many local government planning departments. Councils can share their current vacancies, at no cost, directly with the Returners by completing this survey.

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