What are Local Plan Examinations?

Once a Council has finished consulting on its Local Plan, it must be submitted to the Secretary of State for examination by an Inspector. The overall objective of the Examination is to determine whether the Plan can be found sound and therefore, be adopted by the Council for making decisions on planning applications.

The examination process is complex, the appointed inspector will consider all the evidence provided by the Council to support the Local Plan and allocations made in it. In addition, the Inspector will equally consider all the representations submitted by interested parties and the public. As part of this process, the Plan will be examined to ascertain whether it meets legal tests of soundness, as well as meeting the tests set out in the NPPF. As part of the process, it is inevitable that the Inspector will recommend some changes that are necessary to allow the Plan to be adopted, referred to as Main Modifications.

Monitoring Progress on Examinations

Local Plan Examinations are a key part of the Local Plan process as it represents the independent interrogation of a Plan, by a Planning Inspector. It genuinely offers an opportunity to promote change to a Local Plan.

Understanding the timetable and progress of the Plan through examination is vital. The Inspector will set an agenda of hearings, to examine specific areas of the plan. Monitoring this is essential, to ensure that opportunities are not missed to promote sites.

The examination process involves a great number of people, from the Inspector to Council Officials to interested parties. The key person involved in the administration of the whole process is the Programme Officer, providing a vital liaison point between the Council, the Inspector and the interested parties.

Examinations typically take a minimum of 12 months and can run for longer, depending on the complexity of the Plan.

We never charge for that initial conversation and investigation into your site or development and we always give you a free initial assessment of your chances of success.

Contact us for your free initial assessment

Why Choose Us?

25 years' experience in Local Plan Examinations

Detailed understanding of Local Plans and the complexity of the evidence base

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Experience of giving in person evidence

At McLoughlin Planning, we have extensive experience in Local Plan examinations and the potential that they can have for promoting development sites through the Local Plan process.

At the heart of the examination process is analysing and responding to the questions posed by the Inspector and acting in the best interest of our client and the development sites they are looking to promote.

The Inspector will ask probing questions about the plan and in protecting our client’s interests it requires a detailed, forensic approach to understanding the details of all the documents which make up the evidence base. We review and respond to those questions on behalf of our clients, securing allocations.


Find out more about our work

Retail & Public Sector

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We help deliver vital public infrastructure to help build stronger communities.

We work with various public sector partners, including local government, Town and Parish Councils and County Councils, to guide important infrastructure projects through the planning process. Taking a collaborative approach with councils and communities helps us understand all parties' needs and deliver the projects required.


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A thriving economy is reliant on a buoyant commercial sector - we help deliver the permissions companies need.

We have comprehensive experience in promoting commercial sites for different uses across a diverse range of locations and overcoming a variety of scenarios. Our approach and expertise seek to understand and address environmental and social factors to maintain the integrity of our clients while ensuring the timely delivery of projects.

Residential Development

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We get results on a wide range of development projects – from single homes up to strategic sites.

Our expertise in supporting development projects from single homes up to strategic sites allows us to work on one of the biggest challenges the UK experiences; delivering housing to meet demand. We take an innovative, collaborative and strategic approach to sites in developed and undeveloped areas, including those that are allocated for homes and others in the promotion phase.

Health Care

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We help put in place the amenities that support communities and provide much needed medical care for our population.

We work with care providers on projects helping them implement or improve infrastructure in order to provide the very best medical facilities for the community. Experience shows us that a collaborative approach is required to understand the needs and desires of all interested parties and to achieve the best outcome.

Rural & Estates

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We are proud of our record in the rural economy and our role in the countryside.

Our expertise includes offering advice on agricultural development, diversification and redevelopment projects for rural clients and estate managers. We have experience working with agricultural advisors and agents, giving us valuable links and insight into the community. Our membership of the CLA, AVA and support for the RAU is invaluable to our work.

Private Client

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We guide our private clients through the planning system to realise their hopes and dreams.

Our highly experienced consultants offer their expertise and discretion to guide private clients to realise their hopes and dreams. We take the time to get to know our clients and work out how to achieve their project ambitions on time and on budget.

Home Owner

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Create the home you want and need

We work with homeowners and their architects or designers to offer comprehensive support in obtaining planning permission for their home modifications, extensions or outbuildings; an area particularly popular with the increased numbers of people choosing to work from home in recent years.

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Our clients

Our focus is our clients, delivery results and building lasting relationships. Since our foundation in 2009, we’ve worked with a breadth of clients that stretch from individuals realising a development aspiration to FTSE 100 listed companies with dedication to our client’s needs at the core of every engagement.


Get in touch

If you are interested in finding out how we can help you please get in touch