For an area which does not expect larger scale development proposals, a group could set out some principles which they use to assess planning applications and respond to pre applications, and circulate them to the wider community in the neighbourhood or to members of their community association for comments and approval.
See Example: This is the Redland & Cotham Amenities Society principles document.
This could start with an appraisal of the area to agree what aspects of the local area are particularly valued by the community, and what threats the community perceives which are likely to damage the character of the area. This can be done as a Character Appraisal.
There may be particular issues that your community faces, for instance a lack of family houses or too many single bedroom flats, or lack of green space.
This may be identified by a planning group who has been responding to planning applications in the area and has observed the pattern of development.
There may be evidence in the Census or from Neighbourhood Partnership consultations about issues and local priorities.
All of these routes may be used to find evidence of particular issues that your development principles will address. When the development principles are agreed, they will be given more weight if it is shown that the wider community has agreed them. A method of consultation to get public feedback should therefore be established. This could be by consulting with the group member list, taking the principles to the Neighbourhood Forum meeting for discussion, asking the Neighbourhood Partnership for their input and agreement, and/or circulating information through local publications or on websites and social networks.