Neighbourhood Plan Examinations

As an organisation that has provided support for the planning service for more than 20 years, and which is independent of both local and central government, TRA is ideally placed to offer appropriately qualified and experienced Independent Examiners for Neighbourhood Plans.

Our Examiners

We have a small but growing team of Examiners. All are Chartered Town Planners with a wide range of backgrounds and experience, and are based all across the country. This enables us to suggest the most appropriate person (or choice of people) for each examination based on the characteristics of the area, particular issues involved etc.

Our Examiners have the necessary skills and experience to competently undertake the examination of Neighbourhood Plans. Beyond their in-depth understanding of the planning system, the team's experience includes working with and providing support for community groups and undertaking examinations of development plans and determining planning appeals.

The work of our Examiners is continually monitored in order to ensure consistency and to maintain high standards of quality and professionalism.

To satisfy the legal requirements, you can rest assured that any Examiner we put forward for your examination will:

  • have the appropriate qualifications and experience

  • be independent of the local authority and Parish Council/Neighbourhood Forum, and

  • have no interest in any land that may be affected by the proposed plan.

Our office team

Our Examiners are supported by our dedicated administrative team in Bolton. A member of the team will work with the Examiner and the LPA contact to ensure that the examination runs as smoothly as possible. This provides the LPA with a reliable and convenient way to communicate with the Examiner and get updates on progress. By taking on the administrative burden and day-to-day contact it also allows the Examiner to focus entirely on their professional role.

Our service

Our Examination Service offers LPAs a number of key benefits:

  • prompt and efficient handling of enquiries - in most cases we can put forward an Examiner within a couple of days

  • extremely competitive day rates

  • a dedicated point of contact to ensure your examination runs smoothly

  • the opportunity to "fact check" the Examiner's report before submission.

The Examination process

The role of the Examiner is only to consider whether the draft plan meets the "basic conditions" and other relevant legal requirements - they are not testing the soundness of the plan nor are they able to look at other material considerations.  The general rule is that Examinations will be carried out by written representations, although a public Hearing may be held at the Examiner's discretion in certain circumstances.


TRA's charge is usually based on a daily rate for each day of the Examiner's involvement.  The support provided by TRA's office team in included in this rate.  Travel and accommodation expenses related to a visit to the Plan area (which is always undertaken) and a Hearing (if one is required) will be charged over and above this rate. Depending on the stage that the NP has reached we may be able to provide a fixed price quotation; please let us know if this would be of interest. 

To learn more

Whether you have a particular plan requiring examination or just want to find out about our charges and what is involved in requesting an Examiner we'd be very pleased to hear from you.

Please contact Penny O'Shea via email, or on 01204 385678. All enquiries are entirely without obligation.