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Local Planning Support

POS Enterprises has expert knowledge of the local planning system and can help you prepare robust and effective plans

POS Enterprises has expert knowledge of the local planning system and can help you prepare robust and effective plans

POS Enterprises is a leading provider of support in local planning, through the critical friend service and supported learning groups.  It developed the original Soundness self-assessment toolkit for PAS, together with guidance on selling the LDF corporately and to partners, and led the preparation of the SHLAA practice guidance for the DCLG.

Critical Friend Support

This service uses a "health check" to help authorities prepare good plans which will be found sound at examination, and has assisted over 70 authorities to date.  It concentrates on practical approaches to plan preparation, with a strong emphasis on getting the fundamentals right and setting a clear focus.  We can assist with both general local plan preparation and minerals and waste plans.

The early involvement of a critical friend ensures the authority is going in the right direction and that its approach to the work will be effective and economical of resources.  Alternatively a critical friend can be involved when a local plan is at an advanced stage, to provide a full assessment against the NPPF and the tests of soundness.  In either case an initial workshop with the authority's team is used to explore aspects of soundness, review the work to date and planned way forward, and pinpoint any areas needing attention.

The feedback from the support has been very positive, as these comments from clients show:-

  • "The workshop session and subsequent report provided invaluable advice to highlight risks and areas of weakness with our strategy"
  • "Very efficient service, professional and on the button"
  • "It is very much a case of the consultant working with us rather than talking at us!"

Objectively assessed needs

The outcomes of local plan examinations show that planning for objectively assessed needs is the most problematic aspect of plan making for many authorities.  We can offer support in getting the right approach through a new SHMA, reviewing current evidence, or learning from how Inspectors have addressed the matter.

Green Belt review

Are you considering a review of the Green Bell in your area?  Or perhaps a neighbour is embarking on a review and you will need to take a view on whether it is sufficiently challenging.  We can advise on the key principles which should underpin a Green Belt review and best practice in the appraisal process, drawing on the experience of advising authorities which have already carried out reviews.

Planning for gypsies and travellers

Planning for gypsies and travellers is a key aspect of local planning, confirmed by the national policy statement.  But of course the issue is sensitive with local communities and challenging for councillors.  It calls for careful thinking about the approach to be taken, and how to get robust evidence which will stand up to examination.

Our support will be tailored to your particular situation, but may include facilitating councillors’ workshops, governance structures for cooperative working, planning a needs assessment, review of the draft needs assessment to comment on its robustness as evidence, or securing effective engagement with the travelling community. 

Training for local plan examination

This training helps staff who will be involved in the examination to get into the right mind-set, and organise themselves to engage effectively with the examination process.  For details click here

Supported Learning Groups

We manage three supported learning groups which assist groups of authorities in sharing experience and exploring aspects of plan-making practice.  Two groups deal with general local planning matters, with one based in London and the other in Leeds,  The third specialises in minerals and waste planning.  Participants select the matters to be addressed by the groups in the light of their priorities and current interests.  All three groups are supported by expert project officers and have been continued from year to year at the request of the participants.

From time to time places come available on these groups, so enquiries about joining are always welcome

For more information please contact Andrew Wright (see below).


For details of current POS Enterprises training opportunities click here  


For a list of past and current publications click here 

For further information about local planning support, please contact Andrew Wright on 0845 6019 067 or at




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