The Localism Act 2011 removed planning inspectors' powers to impose changes on local authorities' draft Local Plans. No local authorities have been ordered by the Planning Inspectorate or my Department to withdraw their draft Local Plan.
Instead, following the Localism Act, during the public examination process, independent planning inspectors now report to the local authority and identify any conflicts between a draft Local Plan and national policy and regulatory process. However, they are only able to recommend modifications to overcome these issues if they are asked to do so by the council itself.
Councils are now able to suggest their own modifications for assessment by the inspector during the examination, as well as making minor non-material changes themselves. The council is then free to choose to accept the inspector's modifications and adopt the draft plan, or resubmit a new plan. This approach is aimed at encouraging a more collaborative process as the public examination proceeds.