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Statement of Community Involvement

The Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) is a public document which sets out our policy and approach to involving local communities, businesses and other organisations in all aspects of planning.

This includes all local development plans, the local plan, planning application/permission in principle, and the approach to the various stages involved in preparing a neighbourhood plan or order.

The aim of the SCI is to make the planning system accessible to all, enabling communities to be well informed about how and when they are able to take part in the planning process. This encourages greater participation and a more efficient and inclusive decision making process that recognises the varied needs of different sectors of the community and the understanding that some groups are more able to participate than others. 

The SCI has been updated to reflect our Community Engagement Strategy and the requirement introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Standards of consultation

The SCI sets out how, where and when there are opportunities to engage, contribute and participate in the
planning process. We will look to facilitate engagement through a variety of means which may include:

  • placing relevant information on our website together with any supporting documentation needed to enable people to understand what they are being asked to comment on and state where and when documentation can be inspected
  • making available all relevant material for inspection at our offices and other accessible locations as appropriate for the consultation period
  • issuing adverts or press releases to local newspapers circulating in the area, as appropriate, advising where and when the relevant material can be inspected, how copies can be obtained, the closing date for representations and where to send any representations
  • use our social media channels to raise awareness of consultation events
  • undertake presentations to relevant groups as deemed appropriate to the documents being consulted on
  • letters or emails to individuals, companies and groups on the Local Plan Database (anyone can request to be added to the database at anytime).

What's in the Statement of Community Involvement?

The SCI explains how all sections of the community, from individual members of the public through to representative organisations, have a range of better opportunities to participate in planning.

It sets out community involvement in the preparation of the Local Plan and supplementary planning documents (SPD) and in the determination of planning applications as well as community involvement in other planning procedures such as Neighbourhood Planning.

Clearly, the scale of community involvement in the planning system has to reflect the resources we have available. To ensure the most efficient use of resources the approaches used have sought to make use of existing established networks where possible. 

Involving all sectors of the community

Involving all sectors of the community in plan making and decision making has benefits for us through increased awareness of planning issues. It can also help to generate a feeling of inclusion by the community in policy formulation.

People living and working in Ashfield can contribute their knowledge and understanding of the locality, its past and its distinctive and valuable features which might otherwise be overlooked. Stakeholders also have a key role to play in providing expertise in specialist areas that the Local Plan team may not have.

Understanding the characteristics of Ashfield can help to identify any groups of residents who may have particular needs and therefore may be ‘hard to reach’. This information will assist us when involving local people in the planning process. Appropriate and more intensive methods of communication will be required to ensure that ‘hard to reach’ groups are involved in planning processes.

Community Involvement is about communicating information to people and gaining information from people in a collaborative process. The aim is to enable people of all abilities, colour, race, sex, religion, sexuality or age to access information which allows them to become involved collaboratively in planning the future of Ashfield.

Monitoring success

The SCI concludes with reference to monitoring and review. We will:

  • monitor the success of community involvement methods and use the results to review the techniques used in the future
  • carefully consider the resource implications of all of the methods used to try to ensure that the most effective use is made of the resources available for this work
  • recognise good quality community engagement has significant costs in terms of time and financial resources.

It is also clear we may not be able to meet all of the aspirations for engagement the community may wish to promote due to time and resource limitations. However, we will strive for transparency at all stages and will seek to ensure that views can be put forward whenever possible.

Methods of community involvement that provide the best results in terms of the quality and quantity of involvement, for the best cost, will be utilised more regularly where appropriate.

Ways to contact us about the Statement of Community Involvement

If you need to contact us about our SCI or getting involved in planning decisions you can do so by: