Consultation draft Statement of Community Involvement

Ended on the 21 November 2014
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(4) How we consult

6. The Council will meet all minimum requirements for planning consultations as set out in the relevant regulations1. A statement will accompany the submission of development plan documents, summarising how the community engagement was carried out at each stage of the process.

To ensure effective public consultation on emerging development plan documents and other planning policy documents, the Council will:

  • Place all documentation on the Strategic Planning consultation portal, available through the Council’s website www.harborough.gov.uk together with all supporting and relevant information and information on how to respond to the consultation;

  • Make all relevant material available to view at the Council Offices and in public libraries during the consultation period;

  • Inform all defined statutory consultees of any consultation; and

  • Hold the consultation for a minimum of six weeks for development plan documents (including the new Local Plan) and four weeks for a supplementary planning document

(19) Question 2

Is the minimum 6 weeks consultation sufficient for effective consultation?

6.1 The Council is rolling out use of a new Strategic Planning consultation portal. This will allow consultation documents and draft plans to be viewed and read on the consultation portal, available via the Council’s website. Comments can be made through the Strategic Planning consultation portal, together with viewing comments already made and verified. Notification of all future planning policy consultations will be sent to everyone who is registered on the Strategic Planning consultation portal. Registration will also be required in order to submit comments via the consultation portal. Please note that this will require a separate registration to the online Public Access system for viewing planning applications. However, this is a relatively quick and simple task. Respondents are encouraged to keep their contact details updated to ensure they receive notifications of future consultations.

6.2 The use of the Strategic Planning consultation portal will enable the consultation process to be more efficient, particularly for the analysis of responses and for providing feedback on responses received. The use of the consultation portal will also enable easy access for users in the community, as well as being more cost and resource effective for the Council. Should respondents encounter particular problems in responding via the Strategic Planning consultation portal, Council officers will provide further training or advice and assist in the use of the software, where necessary.

6.3 The use of the Strategic Planning consultation portal will be encouraged and is available on computers in libraries in the District and at the Council Offices. Support and assistance in using the Consultation portal is available on request from the Strategic Planning team. However, should customers not have access to the consultation portal for whatever reason; the Council’s next preference is to receive e-mailed consultation responses to planningpolicy@harborough.gov.uk. The receipt of hard copies of responses (for example in letter form) is discourages and will only be accepted by prior agreement with the Strategic Planning team. This is because responses received in this form will then need to be manually inputted into the consultation portal.

6.4 In addition to all documents being available to view on the website (www.harborough.gov.uk) the documents will also be available to view in hard copy form at the Council Offices and in public libraries.

(14) Question 3

How can the Council encourage use of the website for consultations?
How can the Council provide support for use of the website for consultations?

6.5 Documents will be written in a user friendly style and copies of documents in alternative formats may be available on request. Further information is available here: www.harborough.gov.uk/info/200041/equality_and_diversity/36/equality_and_diversity/9. The Council will also aim to avoid consultations in public holiday periods, or where this can not be avoided, the time period for consultation will be extended beyond six weeks, where necessary.

6.6 In addition, the Council may undertake targeted consultation on specific evidence documents, in order to gain technical information. These are not statutory stages and not listed in the Local Development Scheme, and may be held for a shorter consultation period and for a specific audience only (e.g. developers, agents and landowners to attain additional information only).

6.7 Further information on how to register on the new Strategic Planning consultation portal in order to receive notifications of consultations and to respond online: instructions.php.

(1) 6.8 Media

6.9 The Council will publicise planning documents and consultations through media releases. This will include where documents can be viewed, and how to engage with the consultation.

6.10 The Council will issue press releases to local publications at all key stages in the preparation of planning documents in addition to the publication of statutory notices to advertise statutory consultation stages. The Council will use twitter (@HarboroughDC) to further publicise planning documents and provide links from the Council’s Facebook page, with links to the relevant information on our website. In addition planning documents and consultations will be publicised in the Council’s newsletter/s for both businesses and residents and broadcasts on the local radio (Harborough FM) may also be used.

(16) Question 4

Do you support the Council’s use of social media for consultations?
Should the Council use further social media outlets for consultation?

(3) 6.11 Parish Councils and Parish Meetings

6.12 Parish Councils and Parish Meetings are the democratically elected bodies representing local communities. The Parish Clerk will be the first point of contact in most instances. More information on Parish Councils and Parish Meetings is available here: parish_councils.

6.13 Parish Councils and Parish Meetings will be notified four weeks prior to a statutory consultation to enable sufficient time for meetings to be arranged to fit in with the consultation timetable. All planning documents and supporting information will be available through the Strategic Planning consultation portal and a direct link will be sent in an e-mail notification. Hard copies of any documents will only be provided in exceptional circumstances, and then at a maximum of one per Parish Council or Parish Meeting.


1 www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2012/767/regulation/18/made
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