Consultation draft Statement of Community Involvement

Ended on the 21st November 2014
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1. Introduction

1.1 Harborough District Council (HDC) makes decisions about where development can take place and how places can change through the planning system. The core theme of the planning system is to promote sustainable development. Its main function is to manage the use and development of land and buildings to ensure the provision of homes, jobs, shops and other facilities for the community, whilst also protecting the environment and heritage assets. As the Local Planning Authority (LPA) the Council has 2 main roles in the planning system;

Plan-making: formulating plans which set out how the district may grow, how places will develop over time, and the policies that will guide that development. The main document is the Local Plan (the Development Plan for the District), although other types of document can also be produced.

Development Management: managing how land and buildings are used or changed through the granting or refusal of planning permission. Ensuring that the right type, mix and design of development is provided on suitable sites. The main consideration in determining planning applications is conformity with the policies of the Development Plan.

1.2 Together these two roles combine to shape the future of the district. The opportunity for the community to engage with and influence both plan making and development management decisions is an essential part of good planning. To this end the Council is committed to;

  • Providing timely and easy access to information on planning matters
  • Providing opportunities for the community to contribute ideas, and take an active part in developing proposals
  • Providing the community with the opportunity to comment on formal proposals, and to valuing their insight and opinions
  • Using cost efficient and fit for purpose consultation methods
  • Being open and transparent in its decision making, and to explaining the influence of consultation
  • Keeping people informed about progress and outcomes

1.3 The purpose of this SCI is to explain how the Council will actively seek to engage all sectors of the community and encourage widespread and continual involvement with its plan making and development management processes. Active participation and early engagement with the planning process will assist in developing community ownership of development plans and planning decisions.

1.4 The planning system operates within a legal framework that involves a variety of terms and documents – these and the relevant planning legislation are outlined in the Glossary (see Appendix B).

What is a Statement of Community Involvement (SCI)?

1.5 The Council is required to produce a Statement of Community Involvement under Part 2 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act (2004), and this document will set out

  • who we aim to engage with in the process,
  • when and what the Council will consult on and;
  • how the Council will engage through consultation

1.6 Recent changes in planning legislation and regulation have seen the introduction of the Localism Act (2011) including the introduction of Neighbourhood Planning, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)(2012), the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012, and the National Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) (2014).

1.7 This new planning legislation has led to a requirement to update the SCI, previously adopted 10th July 2006. This updated document will ultimately replace the previous SCI, including Development Management consultation policy. It takes into account the latest planning legislation, as above, as well as the updated work plan of the Strategic Planning team. In addition it takes into account changes in technology since 2006, which allow the use of more efficient and effective communication and consultation methods.

1.8 Consultation forms an essential part of the planning process as the NPPF states: “Early and meaningful engagement and collaboration with neighbours, local organisations and businesses is essential. A wide section of the community should be proactively engaged, so that Local Plans, as far as possible, reflect a collective vision and a set of agreed priorities for the sustainable development of the area…”( The National Planning Policy Framework para 155). The PPG gives local authorities considerable flexibility in terms of consultation, particularly for the early stages of the plan making process, as long as Regulations (18) and its SCI are adhered to, as tested through Examination.

1.9 This document outlines the Council’s plans for community consultation and involvement in the preparation of the new Local Plan and other planning policy documents, and community engagement in the determination of planning applications. The SCI will ensure that all members of the community, including local groups and organisations, Parish Councils and Meetings and stakeholders can, should they wish, be actively engaged throughout all planning consultations.

1.10 This SCI contributes towards the Council’s Corporate Plan Priority of ‘To develop places in which to live and be happy’. The Corporate Plan (2013-2015) is available here: www.harborough.gov.uk/homepage/170/about_the_council

1.11 The following planning documents are the responsibility of the Council, and are set out in the Local Development Scheme (LDS).

  • A new Local Plan, including strategic allocations
  • Supplementary Planning Documents (SPD); and
  • Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)

1.12 The timetable for producing these documents is detailed in the LDS, together with the key production and public consultation stages, as well as outlining the subject matter and geographical extent. Further information on the work of the strategic planning team and the latest Local Development Scheme is available at www.harborough.gov.uk/planning.

1.13 In addition to the above documents, the Council also assists in the preparation of Neighbourhood Development Plans (NDP). Whilst the responsibility of the neighbourhood planning body, the Council supports the process, provides technical assistance and information, undertakes the submission plan consultation, appoints the examiner, and runs the referendum. As a large rural district, neighbourhood planning is a popular undertaking across the district. Please note NDPs are prepared by local communities and are not covered by the SCI.

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