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Planning Aid England service changes

12 July 2016

Planning Aid England (PAE) services will change this summer, following the Board’s agreement to pilot a reduced telephone advice line and develop an enhanced suite of online guidance.

These changes have been prompted by evolving usage patterns and will be reviewed at the end of the year.

PAE services from Monday 1 August 2016

  • More and better online resources at Planning Aid Direct - From 1 August onwards there will be more up to date guidance notes covering a wider  variety of planning topics available on our website, free to read and download - and we will keep adding to our current c.200 items. We will also improve signposting to both PAE advice and guidance and to other sources of specialist advice such as PINS.
  • Closure of telephone hotline - The telephone hotline will be temporarily suspended to allow us to review the real value of this service, the capacity of others providing something similar, and the potential for it to be developed in a more sustainable way.
  • Email service - The public will continue to get free planning advice through email (via: advice@planningaid.rtpi.org.uk)
  • Casework support for deprived communities – This will continue to be delivered throughout England by our generous and experienced regional volunteers.

Rosslyn Stuart, Director of Professional Standards and Development, said:

“PAE is free, independent and the only public service of its kind on the market, funded exclusively by the RTPI.  As it relies heavily on volunteers working with a small staff team, we need to keep looking at how to deliver services in the most efficient way.

“Analysis shows that development management enquiries comprise the overwhelming majority of telephone advice line enquiries, with enforcement a further area of real concern to many callers. It therefore seems sensible to handle these enquiries of a recurrent nature better online, and dedicate staff resources to task groups and outreach initiatives that target communities in areas of deprivation.

“I’d like to use this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to make continual improvements to PAE so that it can best fulfil its aims to empower communities to take an active role within the planning system, regardless of their ability to pay.”

See PAE’s online advice and guidance here