Specialist services

We offer a range of specialist services, drawing on the expertise of associates who have developed particular expertise in their subjects.

Strategic planning

The NPPF now makes it clear that there should be strategic plans for most parts of the country.  If you and neighbours are thinking about how to set up new strategic planning arrangements, we offer the help of a specialist in the field to help you identify the appproach which will work best for you, and help you foresee and overcome the challenges along the way.

The support will be tailored to your local situation, to -

  • explore the alternatives to identify the most promising structure of strategic and locally based plans;
  • consider what kind of political organisation and officer arrangements are needed to enable it to be successfully taken forward; and
  • identify the key matters which need to be resolved through a statement of common ground

POS has worked closely with MHCLG as it developed its proposals for joint working and statements of common ground, so we can be confident that the advice we offer will be robust.

Green Belt assessment 

Any suggestion of change to the Green Belt is likely to be met with a lot of concern among elected members and local communities.  So it is essential that the evidence is strong.  We have extensive experience of guiding authorities to ensure that they follow sound practice.  We can -

  •  advise on how to go about an assessment yourself, through a day’s training
  • act as a critical friend to help you to be an effective client for consultants who will carry out the assessment
  •  provide an appraisal of the robustness of a draft assessment before it is published 

Where a neighbouring authority has carried out an assessment, we can assist by providing a critique of the methodology and practice. 

Securing good design

The emphais now given to good design by Ministers and in Government policy is welcome, but it  won't happen on its own.  Planning authorities need to build effective approaches to design into the way they develop well-framed design policies in their local plans, amd prepare supplementary guidance.  They also need to re-think how they work with developers, to make design a key aspect of pre-applicaton discussions and negotiation; including working successfully with urban designers.  We offer training on how to go about becoming an effective promoter of good design.

The challenges are particularly demanding when it comes to large urban extensions and new settlements, where the issues of infrastructure and delivery can threaten to push out consideration of good urban design and liveable environments.  We can help you sustain your commitment to creating good places, through expert support to help you meld together clarity of vision, suitable treatment of design in masterplans and other frameworks, and effective carry through into negotiations on applications.

Planning for gypsies and travellers 

This is such a sensitive area that it needs careful thinking about the approach to be taken, and how to get robust evidence which will stand up to examination.  This is a natural topic for cooperative working, so that authorities can be confident that their plans are coherent with those of neighbours.  We offer expert advice on the lessons learnt from needs assessments, and how to set up effective approaches. 

Our support will be tailored to your particular situation, but might include -

  • facilitating councillors’ workshops
  • governance structures for cooperative working
  • planning a needs assessment
  • review of the draft needs assessment and its robustness as evidence
  • securing effective engagement with the travelling community

Neighbourhood planning

Substantial support is available to parish councils and groups preparing neighbourhood plans.  But some still get themselves into difficulties by promoting policies which will not meet the basic conditions, or would be unworkable in practice.  

We can help you through the services of a highly-experienced planner who is also a specialist in neighbourhood planning, who will provide you with an independent assessment of an emerging plan.  This will not only identify any areas of weakness but also offer practical suggestions on how they can be dealt with.  Thus armed, you will be well placed to encourage the group to make sensible changes, or come the worst, make effective representations to the examiner. 

We can also provide training to help build the expertise and confidence of team members in dealing with neighbourhood plans, whether directly or through the way they are covered in your local plan.

Other services 

We can provide support in a range of specialist areas allied to plan making and development.  Examples are an associate acting as an independent advisor in interviews for senior officer posts; and confidential services to an authority to advise whether there could have been undue influence. 



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