Local plan critical friend support

Our critical friends are experts in the plan making system. They can provide a health check of an emerging plan, using a risk-based approach to identify any areas of potential vulnerability for you to address.  We can assist with both local plans and minerals and waste plans. 

We advise that where possible the critical friend is brought in at an early stage, when the authority has begun to develop its ideas for how to approach plan preparation. This can help you ensure that you are going in the right direction, and that the work will be effective and economical with resources.  In such cases a time charge is the most economical basis, and is generally less than £3,000. 

Where a local plan is at an advanced stage, the critical friend can provide a full assessment against the duty to cooperate, the NPPF and the tests of soundness. Such a review is generally undertaken for a fixed fee of about £3,600. 

The support is tailored to the client’s circumstances and priorities. Often the most effective approach is to hold a workshop with the local plan team to explore any potential areas of weakness or difficulty, and how they might be tackled. The outcome is a full report with clear conclusions and practical recommendations on all the key issues, including: 

  • effective and demonstrable cooperation with other authorities and agencies
  • current areas of change in national policy or guidance, and how best to address them 
  • the scope and quality of the evidence base
  • the robustness of key methodologies, particularly site selection
  • the deliverability of the plan and 5-year housing supply
  • its resilience to deal with shifting circumstances

The feedback from critical friend support has been very positive:

"The workshop session and subsequent report provided invaluable advice to highlight risks and areas of weakness with our strategy"

"Very efficient service, professional and on the button"

"It is very much a case of the consultant working with us rather than talking at us!" 


Minerals and waste planning

We also offer specialist critical friend support to review an emerging minerals and/or waste plan, covering the plan preparation process to date, the evidence base and the content of the draft plan against the tests of soundness. This will throughout focus on the distinctive requirements of minerals and waste planning and the specialised evidence required. This will help you identify how you can strengthen the plan where necessary to stand up well to examination.

The fee for a full plan review will typically be about £4,300. 


For enquiries about any of our services, please contact Andrew Wright, General Manager at andrewwright@posenterprises.co.uk or call 0845 6019 067.