PAS Bulletin: May 2021

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May 2021

PAS Bulletin: May 2021

The sun is trying to break through the clouds, it hasn't rained today (yet!) and I've met somebody outside of my house for a coffee. Things are looking up...

This month has been all about getting in contact. We have a number of new work areas to sit alongside our more instantly recognisable offers. To provide maximum value to councils we directly support planning services and use this learning to share best practice across the sector. Our work relies heavily on input from local planning authorities, so we need your experience and capacity to test new ideas. Thank you for picking up our calls.

We have lots of events, for councillors and officers, happening or in the pipeline. It would be great to see as many of you as possible at these. We are still holding virtual events but hope to have our chief planner event face-to-face in the new year!

Anna Rose

Head of PAS

Councillor training – dates for your diary

There are still places left on the PAS free councillor training on planning policy, decision making and infrastructure. If you are a councillor who is new to planning or you want a refresher or an update, please book a place.

New local design code pilots

Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) have announced the 14 councils that are piloting the local use of the new National Design Codes.

We will be working to help evaluate and share the learning from these pilots, as well deliver some wider support around the use of design codes. If your council would be interested please let us know at

Councillors – help us design our Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) project

The Environment Bill will bring in new requirements for councils, in particular BNG, for most planning applications. Register for our councillor workshop on 16 June for an overview of what is happening, and to tell us what you want and need from us to help you fulfil these new duties.

Development management performance – top tips

We have posted some top tips for good development management performance, accompanied by a presentation that you can use to help you discuss improvements you wish to make. These top tips will be used to update and relaunch the Development Management Challenge Toolkit. Watch this space for further updates.

Appeals – quality measure

Steve and Pete are also offering support to councils who have lost a number of appeals recently and therefore could be in danger of not meeting the Government's target on the quality of decision making. If you have not been offered support but would like help to improve your appeals performance then please contact Pete at

A blog from Martin – local plans

Plan making during a pandemic and a continually changing planning system is an interesting and difficult challenge. Martin shares his observations on the common issues planners are facing and how by working together PAS, councils, and Government can all contribute to getting local plans in place by 2023.

Reflections on the Return to Work – Planning (RTWP) Class of 2021

In our latest blog Anna and Rachael share their reflections on the RTWP programme and give thanks to the learners for showing us how their wide range of skills and experience would complement any planning team. The programme also taught us that there can be inherent barriers in our recruitment processes – something that we would ask you all to reflect on

PAS Heads of Planning Conference, 27 & 28 January – save the date!

We are looking forward to being able to get out and about to see councils in person once again. We will be running our annual Heads of Planning Conference on 27 & 28 January at a venue to be announced (in the Midlands) so save the date.

Planning Gateway One

Planning Gateway One, the first stage of the building safety regime, is coming in August. Developers of residential buildings over 18 metres will need to provide a Fire Statement and the HSE’s Building Safety Regulator will become a statutory consultee on planning. The Government has published more details.

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