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Preparing an effective evidence base

Date:15 October 2014
Duration:1 Day
Price GBP 449 + VAT
Venue:The Hatton (etc Venues)
Event code:39994

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Why you should attend

The National Planning Policy Framework has been in place for two years, but over half of local authorities have yet to publish new plans since the NPPF changes. A number of councils have withdrawn their plans during this period.

This briefing & workshop will share good practise and highlight what are the key ingredients for an effective evidence base that informs robust policies and decision making. It will focus on the need for proportionate, adequate, up-to-date and relevant evidence. Presentations will explore practical and policy issues surrounding the evidence base for economic growth, housing, retail and town centres, and infrastructure planning, as well as on benefits of an integrated approach. We will look at what the Planning Inspectorate wants to see plus guidance and tips from a planning barrister.

Key benefits

This briefing and workshop will help you:

1. Understand some of the key components of an evidence base

2. Identify what makes a sound evidence base

3. Use data sources and analytical techniques

4. Relate the evidence to key policy and other challenges

Who should attend?

  • Those who write planning policies
  • Those who commission and produce evidence base documents
  • Those who use evidence base work to inform decision making


9.00 Registration and coffee

9.30 Welcome and introduction by the chair

Peter Wilks, Director, Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners

9.40 Different types of evidence: good and bad uses?

Celina Colquhoun, No5 Chambers

10.20 Positive planning for housing and the economy

  • Objectively assessed housing needs
  • Assessing economic growth and business needs
  • Preparing integrated evidence
  • Tools for positive planning

Ciaran Gunne-Jones, Economics Director, Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners

11.00 Coffee and networking

11.20 Preparing an integrated evidence base – a case study

12.00 Planning for our future town centres: policy and practice

  • What are the challenges facing our town centres and high streets?
  • Why do we need strategic visions for town centres?
  • Why is an effective evidence base key to preparing sound and deliverable strategic visions?
  • Is there an evidence base ‘checklist’?
  • Case study examples of where town centre strategies have been delivered

Steve Norris, Partner, Planning Perspectives

12.40 Panel discussion

1.00 Lunch

2.00 Assessing transport and infrastructure needs

Mike Batheram, Director, WSP and Paul Speirs, Technical Director, WSP

3.00 Evidence in Local Plans

  • The evidence base – focused, simple, proportionate and up-to-date
  • Meeting the area’s needs – justifying the allocations and proposals
  • The Duty to Co-operate – why there have been problems and how to address them
  • Sustainability Appraisals – deal with the alternatives and make it understandable
  • National Planning Policy Framework – making sure the Plan complies
  • Planning Policy for Traveller Sites
  • Planning Practice Guidance
  • Housing – how to meet the full, objectively assessed need and 5-year supply
  • Producing a Housing Implementation Strategy and a Housing Trajectory
  • Particular requirements for minerals and waste plans
  • Proving the delivery and viability of the Plan’s proposals

Roger Clews, Local Plan Inspector, Planning Inspectorate

4.00 Questions and discussion

4.20 Conclusion by the chair

Peter Wilks

4.30 Close


Peter Wilks


Peter Wilks

Mike Batheram: Mike Batheram is the Director of Local Government Transport and Infrastructure within WSP. In addition to leading the local government transport sector within WSP, Mike’s national role includes the provision of expert technical leadership on complex multi-disciplinary projects and services to both private sector clients and public sector agencies. Mike has extensive experience in directing and managing studies and providing advice to public and private sector clients in relation to sustainable development and associated integrated transport strategies and schemes. Mike has overseen the production of transport evidence base for a number of Local Plans in England. Mike has been working for WSP since April 2004. Prior to joining WSP Mike held senior posts in local government, the last as head of Strategic Transportation at Warrington Borough Council providing transport evidence and strategy in support of planning policy. More recently Mike has been the WSP Project Director for the multi modal transport study undertaken to support the Warrington Local Plan Core Strategy submitted to the Secretary of State in September 2012.

Roger Clews: After studying English at university, Roger began his working life in teaching, but soon moved into a more congenial job in community planning. He then worked for a series of local authorities in London and Gloucestershire, before joining the Planning Inspectorate in 2000. He currently leads a team of inspectors working mainly on development plan examinations.

Celina Colquhoun: Celina Colquhoun was called to the Bar in 1990. She specialises in all aspects of Planning, Environmental and Compulsory Purchase Law; Highways, Local Government & Public and Administrative Law as well as Licensing Law. She is a member of PEBA, ALBA, CPA and the UKELA. She has wide advocacy experience appearing in public inquiries and hearings as well as in the High Court and Court of Appeal. Celina acts for and advises a wide range of public bodies and private parties. Her career had a significant grounding in large infrastructure planning and highways projects and in particular represented the Highways Agency and the Government’s Airports Policy Division at the 1995-99 Heathrow Terminal 5 inquiry. Thereafter her practice expanded considerably and she covers a wide variety of property and environmental matters as diverse as CPOs, Highways Orders, Local Development Plans, Waste Management & Pollution, Commons and Town & Village Greens and Sewers & Drains. Her practice also covers Licensing and of which group in chambers she is head. Celina is regularly instructed on a public access basis.

Ciaran Gunne-Jones: Ciaran joined NLP in 2004 and specialises in development economics, planning policy and economic strategy. He holds a First Class Honours degree from the London School of Economics and a Masters with Distinction from the Bartlett School of Planning, UCL. He has extensive experience in advising on development projects and policy approaches, working with a range of major corporate clients, developers and investors, central government and local authorities. He has led on preparing evidence base and analytical work on housing requirements and economic growth across the UK, including NLP’s work on assessing housing growth options for the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation, the Business Case for the Plymouth Devonport South Yard project and advised on City Deal proposals at Poole Harbour and Bournemouth Airport.

Steve Norris: Dr Steve Norris joined Planning Perspectives in March 2008. He has 20 years’ experience advising public and private sector clients on town centre, retail, leisure and mixed-use planning and economic development issues. He was previously a Director at GVA Grimley and DTZ. Steve has acted as expert witness on retail planning matters at several planning and CPO Inquiries, as well as presenting at Conferences and Seminars. Steve was also one of a select number of consultants who advised on the preparation of the PPS4 Practice Guidance published in December 2009.

Paul Speirs: Paul Speirs is a Technical Director responsible for transport modelling within WSP and has worked for WSP since January 2005. Paul has been responsible for the development of be-spoke multi-modal land use and transport models, which have been used to underpin the transport evidence base for Local Development Frameworks and planning applications. He has experience in developing strategic and micro-simulation models from first principles, associated analysis and utilisation of the models to support various levels of land use and transport strategies, schemes and initiatives. Key models include the Warrington Multi Modal Model, Bath Western Riverside, Winnersh Triangle, Heathrow Terminal 5, Great Western Park - Didcot, Ipswich Traffic Model, Salisbury, Dublin and Lisbon (Portugal).