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Agenda item

Statement of Community Involvement

To recommend to Council that the revised Statement of Community Involvement be adopted.  

Subject To Call In::No - Recommendation to Council.


That it be RECOMMENDED TO COUNCIL that the revised Statement of Community Involvement be ADOPTED.  


108.1         The report of the Interim Planning Policy Manager, circulated at Pages No. 140-187, asked the Executive Committee to recommend to Council that the revised Statement of Community Involvement be adopted.

108.2         Members were advised that the Statement of Community Involvement set out how Tewkesbury Borough Council would engage with the local communities and stakeholders in the development of planning policy documents and the determination of planning applications within the Borough. The requirement to prepare a Statement of Community Involvement was introduced in the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 and there was now a requirement for the document to be reviewed every five years and to set out how the Council would support communities undertaking neighbourhood planning. There was no legal requirement to consult on the review of the Statement of Community Involvement; however, the views of Members and Parish Councils had been sought as part of the preparation of the document – the main changes were summarised as: the inclusion of important principles for community involvement; greater reference to the role and use of digital consultation and engagement; the inclusion of guidance relating to how the Statement of Community Involvement procedures would need to change in response to any possible future emergency/pandemic situations which impacted business as usual; reference to the approach to community involvement for the Joint Core Strategy review, including reference to the Garden Town; the inclusion of the Council’s policy for providing support for neighbourhood planning; and updates to development management consultation requirements, particularly a move to using neighbour notification letters instead of just green site notices.

108.3         During the discussion which ensued, a Member expressed the view that the proposed neighbour notification letters were very welcome. However, another Member stated that the proposition but did not sit well with her. She was of the view that it was presumptuous of the Council to assume people had access to the internet and it was risky to abolish the use of the green notices as they were very visible to people in the area of an application. In response, the Head of Development Services advised that some applications would still have site notices as well as neighbour notification letters – some people had indicated that they had not seen site notices in the past and therefore had not been notified so the new system was designed to be more inclusive. She felt there was never an answer which suited everyone but the Council tried to engage as best it could. Neighbour notification letters were intended to ensure people directly adjoining the area were notified. In terms of neighbouring properties, the Head of Development Services advised that the number of people who received the letters depended on the type of application e.g. a larger development would have a greater impact on more residents so each case would be different. It was agreed by several Members that it felt safer to write to neighbours than to rely on them to see a site notice but they also felt there was some onus on Councillors to get the message out to the wider area if necessary. Parishes could put up a local notice about an application if they wished to draw additional attention to it but the Borough Council could not ask Parishes to undertake a role which was its responsibility so it would not be possible to ask Parishes to put up the formal green notices.

108.4         A Member questioned who made the decision as to what went to Committee and how the objections of Parish Councils were taken into account. In response, the Head of Democratic Services advised that the Planning Scheme of Delegation contained within the Council’s Constitution set out whether an application could be determined by Planning Officers or whether a Committee decision was required. The scheme included applications that a Parish Council had raised objection to being submitted for Committee determination subject to the objection raising substantive planning issues.

108.5         Accordingly, it was

Action By:HDS

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