Consultation – Statement of Community Involvement for Planning Matters

You are invited to comment on the council’s proposed draft Revised Statement of Community Involvement for planning matters.   A Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) sets out how and when local people and other interested parties will be involved in planning policy preparation and consulted on planning applications.  Lambeth’s current SCI was adopted in 2008 and is now outdated by changes to planning legislation, reduction in council funding, greater use of online technology and a stronger emphasis on corporate sustainability.

The Statement of Community Involvement together with a consultation questionnaire for your comments can be found on the website www.lambeth.gov.uk/planningmatters or requested by emailing planningpolicy@lambeth.gov.uk or calling Angela Lewis on 020 7926 1258.

In order for the council to modernise how it engages with partners, residents and businesses to follow more co-operative working practice, and for the council to meet agreed  budgetary savings, a number of changes are proposed in the revised SCI on the way we consult on development of planning policy documents and planning applications.

The draft SCI meets minimum statutory requirements and proposes the following changes to consultations on planning applications:

  • Neighbour notification letters sent only to those sharing a boundary with the subject site (i.e.  statutory minimum) instead of the current practice of sending out sometimes thousands of letters which is costly and does not provide any significant increase in response rates;
  • Including more information on the planning process (for example how people can keep themselves updated on the application) in the initial neighbour notification letter (where used).  The letter will also list all other neighbours notified of the proposal;
  • Where site notices are not statutorily required, the council may request the developer to erect a site notice(s) and ask for evidence to prove it has been done; and
  • Libraries will no longer hold physical copies of planning applications and drawings.  These are available to view free of charge on the library computers via the council website.

Essentially the proposed changes seek to discontinue high resource but low return measures such as costly adverts in newspapers on planning policy documents and sending applications to libraries in the borough and instead focus resources on proven effective methods like sending letters to adjoining neighbours and providing them with more information, and use of workshops to discuss planning policy issues.    It is considered that the proposed changes will help Lambeth Council save money without adversely affecting response rates or the council’s current high levels of performance in respect of timeliness of decision making.

As the SCI establishes the minimum consultations requirements that the council will have to meet on planning matters, it will always be possible for it to exceed these requirements if the situation demands.

Responses on the revised SCI must be received by 5pm Tuesday 14 April 2015.  They should be sent by email to: planningpolicy@lambeth.gov.uk or by post to:Alan Vinall, Planning Strategy and Policy, London Borough of Lambeth, Phoenix House 1st Floor,10 Wandsworth Road, London SW8 2LL

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