‘Earlier involvement of local communities’ - surge
Posted: 01 July 2010 08:31 AM   [ Ignore ]
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On the poll this morning I noticed an overnight surge in support for ‘Earlier involvement of local communities’ from 11% to over 50%! perhaps General Petreaus is involved.  This surprised me a little as I have not seen any real discussion about this issue on the Forum or Civic Voice Live, so to this end I thought I would post the topic.

Earlier involvement of local communities is not a bad idea but it is already available in many areas.  It has been tried locally we have been involved in applications for several years before they came to the planning committee although often then with our objections being ignored.  Progressive planning officers and smart developers will now do this early consultation as a matter of course even if just to tick the boxes but it does not carry any real power with it for the local communities. 

If Civic Voice is looking to seriously reform the planning process introducing the right of third-party appeal has got to be a much greater priority.  Indeed earlier involvement of local communities is often the first argument used by the enemies of the right of third-party appeal. Over the years we have letters from John Prescott and Nick Raynsford saying there is no need for right of third-party appeal as you have plenty of time for consultation in advance. This is despite it being in the Labour Party manifesto in the past, perhaps they were got at. Now it is in a Conservative (+Liberal) green paper and it is very encouraging to see it seems to have cross party support.

John Prescott and Nick Raynsford, conveniently missed the point.  If local people can have an equal right of appeal to planning decisons like the developers it will introduce long overdue fairness and balance into the whole process, after all it is 2010 in the third millennium.

 
 
Posted: 07 July 2010 03:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I think it varies from council to council, and from group to group within council areas.

The Whitstable Society are consultees for Whitstable, within the Canterbury City Council area, in lieu of a town or parish council and we have the ability to call applications to development control committee if officers are minded to approve them under delegated powers and the other criteria for referral to committee have not been met.

We are also fortunate in a lot of the local architects and developers will try and take our viewpoints into account when making comments ahead of committees stage/delegated powers being used.

Would be nice to see it enshrined in law, in some extent or another, and the larger developments are often by developers unfamiliar with us who will tend to ignore any observations. Such developments nearly always trigger referral to committee, too.

 
 
Posted: 08 July 2010 12:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I am sure you are right Neil with considerable variability from place to place and in the same place over time as well.  It sounds as though you are able to get involved early but the potential “catch all” for occasional or regular unfairness in the Planning Committee decision making however must be an equal third party right of appeal as you say enshrined in law.