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Dennett House, 11 Middle Street
Taunton, Somerset, TA1 1SH

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Tel: 01823 270101                    
Email: info@swcouncils.gov.uk

The Team


Training and Events

Many of our courses can be adapted for in-house delivery and can be specifically tailored to meet individual needs.

Sometimes due to reasons beyond our control a course has to be cancelled or postponed.  We will advise nominating officers and applicants immediately of such a decision.  Please note in exceptional circumstances we may have to make changes at short notice to the content (to reflect changes in legislation, current thinking or topical issues), timing, speakers and/or venue.

South West Councils, Dennett House, 11 Middle Street, Taunton, Somerset TA1 1SH, Learning and Transformation Administration Team: 01823 270101


Planning Committees  (Training for Elected Members)



Course Duration:

2 x ½ day sessions


Dennett House, 11 Middle Street, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 1SH - this course can also be delivered on an in-house basis


Sound Planning decisions are essential for the proper working of any Local Planning Authority, both to protect the reputation of the Authority and to reduce the risk of legal challenge. Developing good working relationships between Planning Committee Councillors and Planning Officers will also help ensure clarity of roles and robust decision making in dealing effectively with planning applications. Providing, maintaining and improving Planning Committee Member Training is therefore an important requirement for all authorities.

The course is delivered as two 3-hour sessions and will include presentations, workshops, reflective discussion and the development of an action plan.  A practical activity will be set for completion between the two sessions.

The course is designed for:

  • Councillors elected to serve on Planning Committees, especially those newly elected
  • Senior planning officers providing advice at Planning Committee and/or who need to deliver training for Planning Committee Members, especially those who are taking on this role for the first time



The course aims to highlight some of the techniques that are appropriate for different circumstances in addressing training for members on Planning Committees and for developing good Officer/Member relations linked to Planning and to help to develop appropriate solutions and approaches


Session 1

  • The Need for Training for Members
  • The Role of Planning
  • The Planning System - plan-led
  • National Planning Policy Framework
  • Planning Application Process
  • Different Types of Application
  • Pre Application Discussions
  • Scheme of Delegation
  • Development Control v Management
  • Material Considerations
  • Major & Minor Applications
  • Environmental Assessments
  • Public Engagement & Consultation Site Visit Procedures
  • Reflection on Session 1
  • Preparation for Session 2 and Action Planning

Session 2

  • Review of Session 1
  • Predisposition & Predetermination
  • Procedures at Planning Committee
  • Roles of Officers & Members
  • Public Speaking
  • Reports & Recommendations
  • Conditions & Reasons for Refusal - the 'tests'
  • Planning Obligations, Legal Agreements & Community Infrastructure Levy
  • Sustainable Development
  • Principles of Public Life
  • Probity and Related Issues
  • Declaring an Interest
  • What Can Go Wrong
  • Appeals & Public Inquiries
  • Press & Publicity
  • External Monitoring of Decisions
  • Reflection on Session 2
  • Next Steps and Development of Action Plan
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Related Courses:

"Excellent use of time, very good pace, delighted no time wasted"

Member Organisations:  £80 for Councillors (places subsidised) and £160 for Officers
Non-Member Organisations:  £200

(All prices subject to VAT.  Discounts for multiple bookings may apply)


Learning Event Application Form