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The program looks good to me. I am pleased to see Ann Skippers is coming along to talk to us. She has been very helpful to my group in providing a health check on our plan following Reg14 consultation phase. She has many words of wisdom for the uninitiated trying to grasp the complexities and subtleties of the planning world and its jargon.
We found formulation of planning policies very frustrating because of possible ambiguity and overarching planning law. There is also the possible conflict between local needs and desires and the strategic dictates of the Local Plan (should there be a current one!).
It would be really useful if you could have someone there from DCLG present during the soapbox session so we can get messages back to the Department on how they can make it easier for all of us to realise the concept of localism. This could probably be achieved by a ministerial statement providing clarification to planning inspectors and officers as to the weight to be given to NDPs when a local plan is not in place or its policies are deemed to be out of date.
I am really looking forward to the training session in Sheffield.