Maidstone organises training for staff new to processing applications

For many newcomers the processing of applications can be a daunting proposition. Uncertainty about what they should and should not consider, what weight to give to policy and other material considerations, and how the law fits in can lead to a lack of confidence and/or mistakes.

A Beginners Guide to Processing Planning Applications de-mystifies the process and gives staff who are just beginning to deal with planning applications, or are relatively new to the role, the opportunity to focus on key concepts and approaches.

The workshop, which was developed and delivered by TRA Presenter, Chris Weetman, recently ran on an in-house basis at the request of Maidstone Borough Council

To begin with participants were reminded of the need to establish whether there is “development”; if not, then the LPA has no jurisdiction. To provide a thorough grounding some key legal concepts and case law relating to material changes of use, including the importance of identifying the planning unit, were considered before looking at the basis for decision making in s38(6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 and the decision options in s70 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended).

The workshop then moved on to explore:

  • The duties placed on the decision maker and what does and does not constitute a material consideration
  • The role of policy - national policy through the NPPF, local plan policy and the role of neighbourhood plans
  • The relationship between policy and decision making and in particular the importance of paragraph 14 of the NPPF
  • The role and status of Planning Practice Guidance, planning history, responses from consultees and site specific factors
  • The use of conditions
  • The drafting of sound and defensible reasons for refusal
  • The appeals system and role of the courts.

Participant feedback from the workshop was excellent:

  • Very informative, easy to follow, helpful case studies, to the point and very useful when just starting out on processing applications.
  • A good experience with in depth explanations that will help me in the future within my role.
  • All aspects of the programme thoroughly covered, and sufficient time allowed for questions.
  • Gave me a good insight into processing planning applications, which will help me considerably.
  • Very informative and helpful; the Trainer was very knowledgeable, easy to listen to and encouraging all the class to be involved in the discussions.

If you feel that your authority would benefit from running the above workshop on an in-house basis and you would like to receive more information, please do not hesitate to contact Angela Holmes directly for a no-obligation quotation.

Alternatively, the workshop will be taking place as part of our inter-authority programme on 6 November 2018 in Manchester and places are available.