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Planning Inspectorate unveils its pre-election approach to casework

Words: Huw Morris
Planning Inspectorate

The Planning Inspectorate has outlined the approach it will take to casework in the run-up to the general election.

The inspectorate said it is “concerned to ensure that decisions or recommendations relating to proposals which have raised sensitivities or interest in an area cannot be deemed to have influenced the election in any constituency or, more broadly, across the country, or have been used to electoral advantage by any interested body”.

Senior managers will judge whether to hold back decisions or recommendations until the election results have been announced, it added.

On national infrastructure casework, examinations must comply with a statutory time limit, once the preliminary meeting has been notified and the examination timetable has been set. The examination is expected to run to the published timetable.

All scheduled local plan examinations and hearing sessions will continue during the pre-election period and new examinations will also begin. However, to avoid making potentially “politically sensitive” announcements, the inspectorate will not be issuing any letters on the soundness or legal compliance of local plans, or final reports, including the fact check, until after the election.

The fact check report is the version of the report the inspectorate sends to the local planning authority to check for factual errors or inconsistencies, with the final report issued after this has been completed.

The inspectorate added that its approach has been agreed in consultation with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Image credit | Planning Inspectorate