Local Plan Examination Process

The Proposed Submission Local Plan must be considered by a formal Independent Examination. This is led by an independent Planning Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. The independent examination is the final stage in the Local Plan process before it can be adopted as part of the legally binding development plan for the area.

Planning Inspector

The Planning Inspectorate, on behalf of the Secretary of State, has appointed Paul Clark MA MRTPI MCMI as the Planning Inspector to conduct the Independent Examination of OPDC’s Local Plan.

Programme Officer

OPDC has appointed Charlotte Glancy, of Banks Solutions to act as the Programme Officer for the OPDC Local Plan Independent Examination.

The Programme Officer deals with procedural, administrative and programming matters for the Independent Examination. They should be the first point of contact for any person or organisation that has fed into the previous public consultations and will liaise between OPDC, the Planning Inspector and participants taking part in the hearings.

Correspondence or queries relating to the examination process can be directed to the Programme Officer in the following way:

  • By post: c/o Banks Solutions, 80 Lavinia Way, East Preston, West Sussex, BN16 1DD
  • Via email 
  • Over the phone: 07519 628064 or 01903 776601

Expected Examination timeframe

The expected timeframe is as follows:
*The timescales are indicative as each examination differs dependent on the complexity of the Local Plan being examined and questions arising from the Inspector. Any updates to timescales will appear here.

Timing Key Actions Lead
4 October 2018
  • Local Plan submitted by OPDC
October 2018
  • Planning Inspector appointed and administrative review of Local Plan carried out
Planning Inspectorate
October 2018 to March 2019
  • Early appraisal of the Local Plan and identification of any issues and/or questions
  • Requests for any further information to address issues and/or questions
  • Structure and timetable of hearing sessions determined and participants identified
  • Participants notified
  • Responses to Inspector’s issues and/or questions (Hearing Statements) developed by participants
  • Hearing Statements submitted by participants
  • Participants confirmed
  • Hearing Statements published on OPDC website
  • Final hearing session agendas circulated to participants and published on OPDC website
Planning Inspector
April to July 2019
  • Hearing sessions 
Planning Inspector


The Planning Inspector's next steps

Following the close of the hearings, the Inspector may identify main modifications needed in the Local Plan to make it sound. These changes would then require an additional six-week public consultation to be carried out.

After the close of this additional consultation, the Planning Inspector will draft their report, which may include any of the main modifications. OPDC must then make the main modifications set out in the Inspector’s Report to the Local Plan before it is then considered by the OPDC Planning Committee and Board for adoption.

Further information on the examination process can be found in the supporting document ‘Procedural Practice in the Examination of Local Plan’.

What will the Planning Inspector assess?

The Planning Inspector will assess whether the Local Plan has been prepared in accordance with the legal and procedural requirements such as the Duty to Cooperate and whether it is ‘Sound’. This will include consideration as to whether the Local Plan is:

  • positively prepared – the plan should be prepared based on a strategy which seeks to meet objectively assessed development and infrastructure requirements, including unmet requirements from neighbouring authorities where it is reasonable to do so and consistent with achieving sustainable development
  • justified – the plan should be the most appropriate strategy, when considered against the reasonable alternatives, based on proportionate evidence
  • effective – the plan should be deliverable over its period and based on effective joint working on cross-boundary strategic priorities
  • consistent with national policy – the plan should enable the delivery of sustainable development and must be in general conformity with the Mayor’s London Plan and the National Planning Policy Framework  and National Planning Practice Guidance.

A key part of this stage in the process: hearing sessions

Hearings sessions will be held for the Planning Inspector to examine the soundness of the Local Plan (as outlined above). Issues and questions identified by the Planning Inspector will determine the timetable of the hearings and who they will invite to attend. Those asked to attend hearings are called participants. Participants will include members of OPDC staff and selected stakeholders who submitted responses to the two most recent public consultations (held in 2017 and 2018). 

Participants will provide responses to the Planning Inspector’s issues and questions, these are called Hearing Statements. The Hearing Statements will be published on the website once made.

Hearing sessions are chaired by the Inspector and are open to the public but only participants identified by the Planning Inspector will be able to contribute during these meetings.

Hearing Venue

A series of public hearing sessions took place between 2 and 16 April. The Inspector has requested additional public hearing sessions to be held as follows:

The Collective Old Oak, Nash House, Old Oak Lane, London, NW10 6FF 

18 July 2019


Further and any updated information is provided on the Examination Documents page.


The decision on the location for OPDC’s Local Plan Independent Examination has considered the following factors:

  • health and safety
  • location
  • accessibility
  • room(s) size and layout
  • electronic working facilities
  • photocopying availability
  • other facilities 
  • costs

These considerations were informed by:

  • the government’s Public Inquiries; Hearings and Examinations – venue and facility requirements (2016) guidance
  • the Planning Inspectorate’s Procedural Practice in the Examination of Local Plans (2016) 
  • the principles of public life set out in the Committee on Standards in Public Life (1995)
  • discussions with the Independent Examination’s Programme Officer

OPDC noted the concerns raised about the location of the previous venue and we have prioritised our search for venues within the OPDC area. Following a search and based on availability, The Collective has been selected as the preferred venue. We are able to accommodate the additional hearing session in this venue as it has the room capacity for the more limited number of participants invited to attend to speak by the Inspector. However, The Collective does not currently meet all of the other requirements set out above; as such, OPDC is working with the Programme Officer to make sure that it is made fit for purpose for the session on 6 June. 

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