Decision details

Highlight Report

Decision Maker: Joint Planning Policy Committee

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


The Committee considered the Highlight Report by the Head of Programme Management and Performance (circulated previously). 


The Head of Programme Management and Performance presented the Highlight Report to the Committee commented that:


·         The Planning Policy team had been tasked, via the Planning Advisory Service (PAS) self-assessment toolkits, which enabled a review of how the Local Plan continued to comply with national planning policy and if the contained policies continue to be effective and to establish the soundness of the North Devon and Torridge Local Plan (NDTLP)

·         The Local Plan review process, referenced for consideration under item 10 of this agenda.

·         It had been identified that there were knowledge and resource gaps across the joint project team and attempts to re-establish capacity, including through the recruitment of a Joint People and Place Project Manager with Planning Policy technical experience, had initially been unsuccessful and other recruitment methods were being explored.

·         The consequences of the loss of key staff on the Local Plan project plan, which had resulted in significant slippage to the project timeline.

·         The Report Title incorrectly stated the reporting period to be from July to September 2022. This should have been 2023. 

·         The Committee could consider a lighter review of the NDTLP subject to scrutiny from the PAS and DAC Planning (Professional Planning Consultancy Services)

·         The Authorities were unable to demonstrate a Five Year Housing Land Supply (5YHLS) and work was ongoing to present an updated position

·         the commissioning of consultants to update the proportionate evidence base to the Local Plan, having regard to expenditure implications and current uncertainties, significantly in respect of national planning policy. It was agreed that these elements of work be paused until such time as a clear steer on the scope of the review was established with members and with the support of PAS.


Martin Hutchins of the Planning Advisory Service (PAS) addressed the Committee. He introduced himself and explained the role of the PAS and how they can support the delivery of Local Plans.


Martin Hutchins advised:


·         the role of the PAS was that of a ‘Critical friend’

·         that PAS, in respect of support to North Devon and Torridge could review progress made to date, and provide advice, through recommendations on options for progressing the Local Plan, including delivery timeframes and resources.  If they were able to assist they would, or alternatively signpost to other organisations.


In response to questions, Martin Hutchings advised:


·         PAS could commence their assessment within the next two weeks with the expectation of providing advice/recommendations in approximately six weeks.


RESOLVED that the Highlight Report be noted, and the current issues and external support being sought to mitigate those issues be supported.



Report author: Nina Lake

Publication date: 15/11/2022

Date of decision: 04/11/2022

Decided at meeting: 04/11/2022 - Joint Planning Policy Committee

Accompanying Documents: