As part of the Sheffield Plan for the city a Statement of Community Involvement and a Code of Practice for Publicity and Consultation on all Planning Applications has been adopted.
The greater use of pre-application consultations is strongly encouraged, especially on larger schemes.
- helps the community shape a major regeneration scheme or a scheme with a wide community impact
- overcome barriers to service and assist hard-to-reach groups such as Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities
- generate informed debate about very complex planning issues of wide significance
The objective of substantial additional consultation is to engage in useful dialogue, not to provide extra opportunities for lobbying by objectors.
Applicants will be welcome to use whatever techniques and approaches they think are appropriate.
- media coverage, by briefings, press releases and this website
- meetings between planning officers and small groups of people and their elected representatives, where detailed dialogue might be useful
- exhibitions of proposals with the opportunity to make comments
- public meetings, preferably organised and hosted as 'roadshows' by the Local Area Partnership, to ensure wide community involvement and neutral chairing
Meaningful consultation methods
Pre-application consultation needs to be meaningful and not seen as a public relations exercise to win support for a pre-determined proposal.
Therefore, the Planning Service will apply criteria to test the validity of pre-application consultation and determine whether the responses can be given weight when deciding an eventual application:
- was the approach to consultation agreed with the Planning Service
- was the process of consultation transparent and inclusive?
- have objections based on sound planning reasons been addressed?
The responsibility for carrying out pre-application consultation (and the costs of doing so) will rest with the applicant.
Where carried out, an applicant should submit a consultation supporting statement with the eventual planning application, summarising what methods have been used, representations received, and any changes made to the proposals as a result of consultations.
Consultation supporting statement
Where additional pre-application consultation has been carried out, an applicant should submit a consultation supporting statement with the eventual planning application, summarizing what has been done.
The statement should include copies of consultation responses and a summary of all planning representations received.
Contributors will therefore need to be warned by the applicant that any responses to pre-application consultation may be submitted as part of the application and, as such, will be placed on a public file and published by us online, together with other application details.
Applicants should also include a clear statement of how proposals have been amended in response to planning representations or give reasons why this has not been considered possible or appropriate.
When assessing representations on a planning application, we will give some weight to the outcomes from a meaningful and effective pre-application consultation exercise, if considered to be a valid consultation exercise, assessed against the criteria set out above.