New design code pathfinders, Pathways to Planning, planning update for councillors , and more...

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22 February 2024

Planning Advisory Service

We're well on our way to lighter evenings now, and that also means that we are heading rapidly towards year-end. For the first time in years, we achieved a two year funding package from DLUHC in 2023 giving us the opportunity to run some programmes smoothly into 24/25 and start some others afresh. Fingers crossed multi-year agreements are here to stay!

March is busy. Please read on to see the types of work we are involved with, and that's not all. We do a mixture of online and in-person events, nationwide and direct delivery of support, and whilst we work through our various grants, we also offer paid-for work where the grant cannot be used.

Anna Rose
Head of PAS

Quick! Call for new Design Code Pathfinders

The Office for Place are opening another round of the local planning authorities Design Code Pathfinder programme. They are looking for local authorities who have an adopted design codes or similar and are keen to update or expand it, with support from the Office for Place. To find out more visit New Design Code Pathfinders: call for expressions of interest - GOV.UK ( is 11:59pm on 26 February 2024.  

Reminder: Pathways to Planning

Pathways to Planning is a new graduate programme to build capacity by bringing more graduates into planning teams now and fast-tracking their careers.  Each graduate place comes with a bursary of £5,000 which can be used towards the cost of graduates’ study on an RTPI-accredited Master’s course, or as a support fund for graduates studying through an RTPI-accredited Level 7 apprenticeship. Councils have final say on who to employ and are responsible for paying graduates’ salaries, at a minimum of £24,000 per annum. There are 120 spaces available for graduates starting work in September 2024, so sign up before 31 March 2024. Visit the Pathways to Planning website for councils or email Assistant Programme Manager Anna Buttenshaw for more information.

Planning in 2024: Planning update for councillors

PAS and the LGA political group offices are delivering political group sessions for councillors to give an update on the planning process in 2024. We will go through the most recent changes to the planning system and how local authorities will have to respond in 2024, as well as introducing the work that LGA councillor peers undertake in planning.  

The recording of the presentations at the Conservative session held last week is available now on the PAS website

In-person events: Nature recovery toolkit

PAS are holding three regional in-person roadshow events in March for local authority officers to find out more about the draft nature recovery toolkit that we have been developing, the resources that have been developed so far and how to use them. Places are still free for the Birmingham event on 14 March and you can add your name to the waiting list for the Manchester (12 March) and London (21 March) events which are sold out.  Numbers at each event have been capped at 30 and will be restricted to one officer per local authority. Find out more and sign up for the Nature Recovery Toolkit events

Planning and Local Government reorganisation

Over the last couple of years we have done several planning peer challenges in new unitary councils. We’ve been thinking about what we’ve learned about how the planning service needs to prepare for this huge change, and what opportunities there are for the resulting bigger department.

Come along if you need to, or already are, leading a planning department through big changes. This is an interactive workshop, so prepare to share and discuss your situation and thoughts. Online initially, with the possibility of in-person follow-up if there is demand. Sign up for the event

Biodiversity net gain: it’s BNG day!

Biodiversity Net Gain is now required for major development and the mandatory requirement comes in for small sites from Tuesday 2 April. We have lots of information on our webpages, including an updated BNG readiness checklist and a BNG in Development Management toolkit - our first stab at helping to explain how it all works for DM officers. We are running some BNG events in March and interested officers can also join our BNG practitioner network

Natural England Survey on the Green Infrastructure Framework

Green infrastructure (GI) is part of the solution to many of the challenges we face; health inequalities, biodiversity crisis, climate change, nature recovery and levelling up. The GI Framework supports local authorities, developers, parks and greenspace managers and local communities to enhance and create new good quality green infrastructure. Have your say and help Natural England improve the GI Framework.

Design community and UDL training

We already have over 100 local authority practitioners as part of our online Design Code network. It is a great opportunity to ask questions and share ideas (for free!). If you would be interested in joining you can register your interest via our website

Urban Design Learning (UDL) are again offering access to a great series of online training and support sessions around planning reform, design, design codes and place shaping from April 2024 to March 2025. Their programme is in two parts - either subscribing to the full programme of over 60 events or to a smaller set of 20 essential sessions

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