A piece of advice from Planning Help

From Hilary Whelan:

Here’s some advice about neighbourhood plans that I found on a website called Planning Help:

“You should seek to involve the wider community, including residents, community organisations, businesses and [last on the list, please note] landowners.”

“Nobody should feel excluded. If your wider community is on board from the start, then it will be easier to achieve the support that is needed to adopt a Neighbourhood Plan at the referendum stage.”

“Don’t just contact those people who you know or who you think will agree with your views. Make sure that the whole community is aware of the intention to develop a Neighbourhood Plan.”

“People do not generally like having things imposed on them. So a Neighbourhood Plan must be a genuine community document. If you involve the wider community, including those who work in the area as well as residents, the greater the chances that your Neighbourhood Plan will gain support.”

“It is essential that the content of your Neighbourhood Plan represents the views of the wider community, not just those of the project group. In developing your plan there should be a two-way flow of information, backwards and forwards between the leading group and the wider community.”

“Don’t forget that other organisations and the wider public are not just there to hear your ideas. There is usually a wealth of information and knowledge bound up in local communities that needs to be tapped into to inform your Neighbourhood Plan. The process for preparing a Neighbourhood Plan needs to be well thought out.”

Who is behind the Planning Help website? Why, it’s the Campaign to Protect Rural England! The CPRE were brought in as advisors to our Neighbourhood Plan steering group. They were involved in the “stakeholder” workshop last November, and in drawing up the communications and engagement strategy. If anyone can see how the advice given above is reflected in what our steering group is doing, could they please let me know.

1 thought on “A piece of advice from Planning Help

  1. Brian Caffarey

    I can! Of course what’s happened so far is far from perfect but it’s quite obvious to any reasonably objective observer that a great deal of effort is being made to consult the wider community, including the Creek ‘lobby’, and there’s a long way to go yet before the referendum.

    I’ve been involved in lots of consultation exercises. They are rarely perfect and you can always do more if you’ve got the resources but I believe that most of the Faversham electorate will feel ththat they’ve had plenty of opportunity to have their say. In the end the elected representatives, whom Dr Goodwin has been praising fulsomely recently, have to decide what they think is best and put it to the test.


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