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Public consultation following pre app advise

0 votes

Following pre planning advise for the applicant to carry out  a detailed formal public consultation which was strongly recommended to be undertaken in advance of any submission of an application (if one is to be submitted) to gauge the level of support. Can the Parish Council notify their electorate of this consultation  by way of an Agenda item  and listen to  views without it being seen as pre determination should there be a planning application in the future

asked by (1.3k points)

2 Answers

+1 vote
Firstly feel it must be once again stressed that Parish/Town Councils are not the decision making body for planning applications.  They are merely one of a number of consultees whose opinions are invited by the principal planning authority.  Its that body who are the one tasked with actually coming to a decision and its their members who must exercise real caution in terms of pre-determination as a result.  You will often note they very careful speaking about application if they are dual hatted (i.e Parish member + District member) opting to not participate and merely observing their parish councils formulating an opinion.  They often only pose questions to developers (been careful to not state opinion) as well.   
As a Parish Council it is perfectly reasonable to promote and indeed be actively involved with PACE/Pre Planning. Indeed we also promote/share live applications sign posting members to comment either way.  I actually see it as big part of what must be stressed is a very limited role in the overall planning process.  We have certainly in the past invited developers routinely to attend Parish meetings and engaged with them (and allowed public to) as part of public participation events & meetings.  Certainly as a Parish Councillor I have expressed real concerns with aspects of an emerging scheme in public and indeed with the developers.  I consider them statement pre-dispositions and very open about it but am not entering meetings with a closed mind..
answered by (1.7k points)
+1 vote
Coincidentally, I've spent this evening downloading planning application files from my district council's website and uploading them onto the parish council's website to encourage residents to have their say on a controversial planning application in my village.
answered by (22.9k points)
It is of course a tightrope that the PC must negotiate in its duty to bring to the attention of the community matters that may require their consultation and informing the community of what means are available to them to participate. The balancing pole required of the tightrope walker is of course a completely neutral one and purely informative. It must be remembered that until the matter is placed before the council for discussion and formulation of the PC's stance as a consultee then nothing can be stated on the matter by them.
Indeed. As chairman of the council, I know that we will object to this application, but we haven't discussed it yet. Most of the residents around the proposed development will object, but a couple will support it. Our website informs people of the submission of the application, includes links to each of the documents and a link to the district council's online comment form for people to make their views known. No opinion, no attempt to steer residents toward a particular viewpoint, just neutral information.

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