Temporary suspension of parts of the Statement of Community Involvement
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic parts of the Statement of Community Involvement will be suspended for Planning Policy purposes.
Urgent action - Statement of Community Involvement 2019
The council will deviate when and where necessary from some aspects of the Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) to take account of government requirements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the need to be socially distant. Likely deviations relate to any process that requires public gatherings or in person meetings with officers, and the availability of hard copy documents in public buildings. An Addendum to the SCI sets out these changes. This is until further notice, or until the SCI is reviewed and updated.
The council is not holding any in person meetings, consultation events/exhibitions. Any requirements for such meetings/events will be held virtually. No Local Plan or SPD consultations are scheduled at present. Prior to the next Local Plan consultation, the SCI will be updated so it is clear how the council will consult. More information on how Development Management is currently operating is available on the Planing section of the council's website. The council still encourages potential applicants to engage with the local community on major development at the pre-application stage, however, it is advised this is done through virtual means or any other measures that comply with government instructions at that time.
The SCI states that hard copies of consultation documents will be made available at various locations during consultation periods. These locations are currently fully or partially closed to the public (e.g. libraries, council offices and Community Information Centres). The use of hard copy documents and their location will be reconsidered during a review of the SCI, prior to the next Local Plan consultation, when it is better known how public buildings will operate.
The council will continue to support neighbourhood planning. The government has confirmed that no elections or referendums can take place until 6 May 2021. This includes neighbourhood plan referendums. However, neighbourhood plans awaiting referendums can be given significant weight in decision-making. The Addendum sets out how neighbourhood plan consultations can progress in the current circumstances.
During this time, in preparation for a review of the SCI, the council will give careful thought to engagement in planning, making best use of technology to ensure that everyone who wants to, can be involved.
We will review and update the SCI when it is known to what extent the current temporary measures implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic will form part of normal procedure going forward. We will consult for at least six weeks when a new SCI is prepared.