Developers are now expected to talk to the local community at the earliest opportunity while the design is still being developed.
By identifying what will be the principal local concerns about a proposed development at an early stage, the developer can make changes to accommodate those concerns or agree an alternative which is more likely to be given approval.
Stakeholders eg future users of the building, statutory consultees and single issue groups may also be involved at the pre application stage but the aim of Pre App CI pre application community involvement is to ensure that the impacts of any new development on an existing community are positive or at least not negative.
The pre application discussions should therefore include representatives of the community who have experience of the local issues of the whole area, not just the near neighbours or potential users of the development. NPN groups and Ward Members are therefore identified in the Statement of Community Involvement as the ‘relevant groups’ for this purpose.
Developers should contact the Neighbourhood Planning Network groups at the earliest stage of their design process, while options are still open, to discuss their proposals and agree the best way of involving the wider community, if appropriate.
Note: the Neighbourhood Planning Network is a different organisation from the Neighbourhood Partnerships (which are ward based council run organisations set up to make local decisions on devolved spending and influence local services).
The Neighbourhood Partnerships do not lead on planning cases in their area, but following pre application discussions with the Network Planning Groups and if it fits in with the programme, it may be appropriate to exhibit development proposals at the Neighbourhood Forums, which are public open meetings held at 3 monthly intervals for each ward.
- Community Involvement Statement (CIS)
- What should the Community Involvement Statement (CIS) cover?
- Signing off the Community Involvement Statement (CIS)
- How do I contact a group to carry out Pre-Application Community Involvement (Pre App CI)?
- BCC Guidelines for Pre Application Community Involvement May 2015
- Other guidance:
Community Involvement Statement (CIS)
If your development is a ‘major’ or ‘super major’, the Local Planning Authority requires you to submit a Community Involvement Statement (CIS) with your Planning Application.
This is set out in the Validation Criteria for Planning Applications adopted 1st September 2008 and revised in August 2015.
The Community Involvement Statement (CIS) records the process of discussion / negotiation, should be agreed by both parties and signed off by the community and the developer before submission.
Total agreement on the design is not expected, though of course welcomed when it occurs.
What should the Community Involvement Statement (CIS) cover?
The Community Involvement Statement (CIS) should be a description of the process of the Pre App CI and a record of the discussions with the local community.
To help the case officer and planning committee, a summary sheet should be included giving brief details of
- what community involvement meetings took place,
- what points the community raised and
- how the design has been revised to take account of the community response or if it has not, the reasons why.
A table of issues raised and responses to each issue is easy to follow and is best practice. Full records of the meetings, feedback from exhibitions etc can be attached as evidence in appendices. for a good example of a CIS see Wesley College CIS Aug 2013
Signing off the Community Involvement Statement (CIS)
The CIS should be signed off by both parties and submitted as the agreed Community Involvement Statement (CIS)
If the CIS is not countersigned by the community group, the group can submit its own CIS giving their version of the CI process and discussions. This will then be posted with the planning application on the BCC website.
How do I contact a group to carry out Pre-Application Community Involvement (Pre App CI)?
Contact the NPN administrator to find out which group or groups should be involved. Networkadministrator@bristolnpn.net
BCC Guidelines for Pre Application Community Involvement May 2015
These guidelines are recommended as good practice that the council expect from all major planning proposals, including Reserved Matters applications, as well as those that are below the major threshold but have significant local impact.
They are drawn from BCC’s SCI Ground Rules.
They are also informed by NPPF paragraph 66: ‘Applicants will be expected to work closely with those directly affected by their proposals to evolve designs that take account of the views of the community. Proposals that can demonstrate this in developing the design of the new development should be looked on more favourably’ and by the ‘Before submitting an application’ section of the National Planning Practice Guidance.
A key lesson since the Guidelines were introduced in 2008 is that exhibitions and similar events do not by themselves constitute involvement as defined in the Statement of Community Involvement (Oct 2008), but that they can be valuable later in the process to ensure information is taken to the wider community at the end of the involvement process or at application stage.
Planning Aid England Good Practice Guide to Public Engagement in Development Schemes
Bristol City Council guidance Community Involvement in the Pre Application Process
Bristol City Council Pre application advice for planning applications
Bristol City Council website page on Major Development has links to the
Planning Protocol, the agreement between GWE Business West, Bristol Property Agents and Bristol City Council on Working together on Major Planning Applications and the
WoEP toolkit published by the four west of England local authorities and the Local Enterprise Partnership on Making the planning process work better for everyone.