Network planning groups work with the local planning authority and developers to shape development in their area. Network planning groups are not opposed to development, but want to ensure that development in their area is appropriate for the current and future community.
Developers are expected to carry out community involvement through discussion with the Network planning groups, before taking consultation out to the wider public.
Network planning groups are expected to ensure that they are aware of and can present the issues of the whole community, not just the adjoining owners most affected by a proposed development.
A group of residents who are interested in becoming the residents planning group for their neighbourhood and joining the network are advised to contact the network administrator.
How should a group organise itself?
There are no rules other than that the group comply with the Terms of Reference. Different groups work in different ways. The most important principle is that the group make themselves aware of the issues which are important to the wider community and that they try to reflect these in their responses to development proposals. A planning group needs to consider the impact of development proposals on the whole community and may therefore find that they have a different point of view than the residents who are the closest neighbours of a development site.
There is no requirement to have a constitution nor a treasurer and bank account. It is best practice to have someone who takes the lead in calling and organising the meetings and is the direct point of contact for the developer in pre application and planning application discussions. This role could be the ‘chair’ or ‘secretary’.
A group member or members can be responsible for checking planning applications and sign up for alerts for applications in the group’s area.
A group is advised to ensure that the Neighbourhood Coordinator for their area is aware of the group, so that any contact made by a potential developer to the Neighbourhood Partnership is passed on to the local planning group.
Groups are asked to keep the NPN administrator updated with any changes in personnel or contact details.
How can a group join the NPN?
A group can join the NPN by confirming that it can comply with the Terms of Reference.
What are the Terms of Reference for group membership?
Groups joining the NPN must confirm that they comply with these 4 Terms of Reference:
- show that they are open to all residents in their area;
- openly advertise their meetings by for example by email or Newsletter;
- elect representatives by a general meeting at least once each year and
- seek to represent a consensus view.
If groups do not hold an annual meeting to elect representatives they must explain how they ensure that they are representative and open to all.
What other information should a group supply?
Groups should give
- details of the area that they cover, eg by streets that form the boundary, and
- 2 contact names with email addresses if available and telephone numbers.
What will happen to this information?
This information will be held by the Network Administrator and used to ensure that group representatives are made aware of Community Involvement events, Network events and planning information.
The contact details will be given to developers and case officers so that they can use them to contact the relevant Network planning groups for the purposes of pre application community involvement discussions and meetings. The information will not be given to any other organisation unless the Administrator has been given permission by the contact person.