Issue - meetings
Statement of Community Involvement
Items called in from the Cabinet meeting of 7 October 2019.
The Chair of the Overview Scrutiny Committee has called in the following item:
Item 6. Local Plan - Statement of Community Involvement
Reason: To evaluate the effectiveness and inclusiveness of the proposed consultation as set out in the Statement of Community Involvement (Appendix 2).
Officers: Officer(s) for this area
Members: Cabinet Member responsible for this area
(Please ensure you have access to the Cabinet agenda for 7 October 2019, previously circulated to Members).
The Chair called in the following item from the Cabinet meeting of 07 October 2019:
Item 6. Local Plan - Statement of Community Involvement
The Chair explained that his reason for calling in the item was to evaluate the effectiveness and inclusiveness of the proposed consultation as set out in the Statement of Community Involvement, attached at appendix two.
The Chair thanked the Director (Planning & Development), the Assistant Director (Planning) and Cllr Brain Sangha for attending the meeting at his request. Additionally, the Chair gave his personal thanks to Cllr Brian Sangha for meeting with himself and Cllr Bob Lane recently, delivering on his commitment to work with all parties and maintain a healthy working relationship.
The Director (Planning & Development) presented the Committee with the Statement of Community Involvement, which was approved at the Cabinet meeting. The Statement of Community Involvement sets out the Council’s approach to consultation on planning matters such as the Local Plan, Planning Applications and Neighbourhood Planning. The current Statement of Community Involvement was adopted in March 2007; it was therefore necessary for the Council to undertake a review.
The Chair opened the meeting to the floor and allowed the Committee Members to ask their questions to the officers; the Director (Housing & Development) and the Assistant Director (Planning) explained the following:
· With regard to consultations from the EDC, as the decision-making authority but without plan-making powers, the EDC are expected to deliver Gravesham Council’s planning policies. The Council works with the EDC as it is developing a range of non-statutory guidance. However, the Council is just a consultee on planning applications submitted to the EDC and primarily responds to neighbourhood notifications received when there was a direct impact to Gravesham’s residents, businesses or environment stemming from an application
· The EDC has requested the Council to formally adopt their guidance documents and the Council were previously asked to formally endorse their implementation framework; the Leader is a member of the EDC Board and as such is privy to all of the Part B private information if anything of concern should be fed back to the Council
· Currently the Council has no powers or input with regard to the decision making process of EDC and the Council were only considered a neighbouring consultee. However most of their project work was shared with officers during development. Officer input was also sought from EDC on various issues and projects before the decision making process.
· The Council will reach out to the public, to ask for their input on consultations, through many mediums aside from social media such as releasing press statements, advertisements in the ‘Your Borough’ and links on the website etc. The goal with the consultations was to not only reach the residents but also people with links to the area, workers in the Borough, special interest groups and the youth
· Public/Town Hall meetings were conducted in the past and they were found to be of very little help in taking forward policy formulation by providing a stage for ... view the full minutes text for item 125
Meeting: 07/10/2019 - Cabinet (Item 34)
The following report seeks Cabinet approval of the Statement of Community Involvement, attached at Appendix 2.
The Statement of Community Involvement sets out the Council’s approach to consultation on planning matters such as the Local Plan, Planning Applications and Neighbourhood Planning. The current Statement of Community Involvement was adopted in March 2007; it is therefore necessary for the Council to review its Statement of Community Involvement.
It was agreed that the Statement of Community Involvement be approved and published on the Council’s website.
The Director (Planning & Development) introduced all three Local Plan reports and noted that his role had changed to enable him to focus on Housing Strategy and Development, Development Management and Planning Policy, which includes the delivery of the Local Plan in accordance with the updated Local Development Scheme which was being submitted for approval. He confirmed that resources were in place to drive forward and deliver this process.
The Planning Manager (Policy) introduced the Statement of Community Involvement which set out how local and statutory stakeholders would be consulted as part of the plan making and decision taking processes in terms of planning. The principle behind this approach was to provide greater clarity and transparency to stakeholders whilst fostering local ownership of both the strategic approach taken in planning terms and decisions taken.
A complete refresh of the Statement of Community Involvement was required rather than minor changes. However, the approach continued to be one that followed the requirements of Government regulations and best practice.
The following points were raised during discussion on this item:
· Following a question about the range of the consultation process, it was confirmed that the main Local Plan document would be submitted to Cabinet before being considered for approval by Council for formal adoption. However, the supplementary planning documents of the Local Plan, such as the windows and doors guidance document, can be adopted by Cabinet. The officer also confirmed that approval would not be sought from any Member-led review groups.
· It was noted that the Strategic Environment Cabinet Committee would be part of the consultation process.
· Attention was drawn to paragraph 5.13 of Appendix 2 and Members were advised that the Council was required to meaningfully engage with neighbouring local authorities on strategic cross-border issues for example, not being able to meet housing targets. For Kent County Council this cross-border discussion might include education, highways, waste and minerals. During the process of the preparation of our Local Plan documents, the duty to co-operate was with the Borough Council. Conversely for KCC’s mineral and waste plans, the duty was within them. As they produce their own Local Plans, other local authorities will have their own duty to consult and co-operate on cross-boundary issues.
· It was confirmed that whilst social media would be used to promote the consultation such channels would not be utilised for two-way correspondence. Potential consultees would be directed to the Council’s online consultation system and comments would be submitted using a standard format. The system would also provide general global feedback on the progress of the consultation and any oncoming deadlines. Consultees would also be reminded of response deadlines by appropriate means e.g. letter, by email and by social media.
· It was acknowledged that since the last Statement of Community Involvement had been published in 2007, the Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017 had introduced new requirements regarding the involvement of interested parties including parish councils who can prepare their own Neighbourhood Plans. The officer confirmed that the Council did engage with the parish ... view the full minutes text for item 34