Community involvement in planning applications
We encourage developers to make their proposals available to the public for comment when they submit a planning application for larger scale development.
We ask developers to adopt this approach for developments of more than 10 houses or flats and for commercial developments over 1,000 square metres.
The objectives of this approach are:
- To give local people an opportunity to be involved in the planning process at an early stage
- To allow applications to be determined more quickly by identifying and resolving issues as soon as possible
- To exchange information so that all parties can make the planning process more effective
Participation by the prospective developer in pre-application consultation is voluntary. The council's role is to encourage and enable the process. For some proposals, the developer may simply write to neighbours and the local town or parish council, perhaps enclosing copies of the plans. The council would suggest that a consultation meeting take place for more complex proposals, or for schemes which will affect a wider area.
What we will do
To assist the process we will:
- Advise the developer which local residents they should consider inviting to such an event
- Advise the developer of any town or parish councils, residents' groups or amenity societies, which would have an interest in the project
- Make a suitable room available for consultation events
- Invite local councillors to the event
- Make planning officers available to attend the event
What we ask the developer to do
To assist the process, we ask the developer to:
- Prepare drawings (at least to sketch scheme level) so participants are able to understand the proposals
- Write to those affected by the proposals and carry out any additional publicity that may be required
- Be prepared to present the scheme and to answer questions from the public at consultation events
- Be prepared to consider and respond to issues raised by the public
The role of the participant
The developer, who retains ownership of this part of the process, carries out pre-application consultation. The final decision on whom to consult, and how will remain with the developer. The council's role is to encourage and facilitate the process. The council will need to ensure that neither its councillors nor its officers act in a way which prejudices the statutory planning application process.
A consultation event is not a decision-making forum. Neither is it appropriate to carry out negotiations in such an event. It is for the developer to decide whether to make changes to the scheme in the light of issues raised.
Councillors who participate will not be able to say how they think the district council would decide a future planning application. They may wish to ask questions or identify issues, which they feel the developer should address in any application.
It is important that you are aware that council officers who participate will not be able to express an opinion on the likelihood of the application getting approval. They may ask questions or give general advice on planning procedures and planning policy.
This consultation event is in addition to, and not a substitute for, the council's practice of carrying out publicity and consultation when they receive an application. Similarly, it is an addition to and not a substitute for, discussions between planning officers and the developer, before or after an application is submitted.