Statement of Community Involvement

Ended on the 4 March 2024

3. Community Involvement in Development Management

3.1 The process of determining planning applications for development is called 'Development Management'. The government, through the policy contained in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), expects Councils to work positively with applicants for planning permission to look for solutions rather than problems, always seeking to approve proposals for development, where possible. The involvement of residents and other stakeholders in the Development Management process at an early stage enables the Council to work with applicants to address as many issues as possible before a decision is made. This is particularly important for 'major applications' involving larger developments which have the potential to affect larger numbers of people.


3.2 The Council encourages prospective applicants for planning permission to enter into 'pre-application discussions' with Planning Officers. These discussions are aimed at resolving as many potential issues as possible prior to the submission of a planning application and therefore enable the application to be dealt with more quickly and with a greater level of certainty for the applicant. For a reasonable fee, the Council provides a pre-application service to prospective applicants that includes meetings with Planning Officers, preliminary discussions with relevant stakeholders (such as Essex County Council, Environment Agency, Historic England, and Natural England) and detailed advice, sometimes informed by a site visit.

3.3 The Council also encourages prospective applicants to engage with the community prior to submitting a planning application so that they can take on board residents' views and, where practical, incorporate their ideas or address their concerns by making changes to the initial draft proposals. Early engagement with communities should therefore help to minimise the number of formal objections the Council receives once the planning application has been submitted.

3.4 Different types of development proposal will require different levels of community engagement. Major developments for example tend to generate greater public interest and there are likely to be a greater range of issues that need to be resolved. The Government sets out the following criteria for what constitutes a 'major development':

  • Residential developments comprising 10 or more homes;
  • A site area of 0.5 hectares or more where the number of homes is unknown;
  • Commercial proposals creating more than 1000 square metres of floor space or on sites of 1 hectare or more; or
  • A change of use application involving the above.

3.5 For some major development proposals, the Council will expect the prospective applicants to undertake pre-application community engagement and will expect them to provide details of the engagement that has taken place. For other developments, early engagement with the community will be encouraged rather than expected, but depending on the nature of the development proposed, it may be in the applicant's interest to get some early 'buy-in' from the community.

3.6 It is essential that any pre-application community involvement is tailored to the nature and scale of the proposal and that the techniques employed are effective in bringing draft proposals to the attention of the public, the local Town or Parish Council and other affected parties and provide reasonable opportunities for them to make comments.

3.7 The Council will expect applicants to submit the details and results of their pre-application consultation with an explanation of how residents' views and ideas were taken into account, alongside their planning application, and this information will be referred to as part of the decision making process.

Submission of a planning application

3.8 When the Council receives a planning application there will be a formal consultation period within which residents and other stakeholders will be invited to make comments. The Council will take these comments into account when coming to a decision on whether or not to grant planning permission. If an applicant has carried out effective community engagement at the pre-application stage, the comments received during the formal consultation period should hopefully not raise too many major concerns that have not already been considered and taken into account in developing their proposals.

3.9 The formal consultation period involves notifying and engaging the wider community and individuals likely to be affected by planning applications. However, the need to publicise planning applications and give the community a reasonable opportunity to comment must be balanced by costs and speed of decision making and must be in accordance with legislation provisions. A number of measures are already established for the publicity of and consultation on planning applications. These include consulting Town and Parish Councils on all planning applications and placing all planning applications on the 'Public Access' section of the Council's website ubless required to be removed for legal reasons or public safety reasons. In addition the Council carries out neighbour notifications and places site notices when required on application sites.

Revised plans submitted on a planning application

3.10 There is no statutory requirement to publicise or consult the community on revisions to plans submitted as part of a planning application. Where an application is amended through negotiation in a manner which, in the opinion of the case officer, improves the circumstances for neighbours there is generally no need to re-consult them. The exception would be if the changes are sufficiently major that the neighbours might reasonably have expected to be notified, or if the impact on a neighbour has worsened. There are therefore many cases where neighbours are re-notified.

Advertisement Consents

3.11 There is no statutory requirement for publicity and in general the publicity set out in the table overleaf is sufficient. The exceptions are cases which, in the opinion of the case officer, result in a material impact on a residential property. For example, an illuminated sign close to and visible from principal rooms in a residential property.

Design and Access Statements

3.12 Some planning and listed building consent applications, including in Conservation Areas are now required to submit a Design and Access Statement, under section 3 of the Department of Communities and Local Government Circular 01/2006 (Guidance on changes to the Development Control System) as amended. These Statements must demonstrate the public consultation that has been undertaken in relation to the planning application. In addition, they need to demonstrate that the proposal is well designed in itself and fits in with its setting.

Communication techniques for the Development Management process

3.13 The following table illustrates what the Council already does by way of publicity and formal consultation and the suggested techniques for extending community involvement on some proposals, to be undertaken by the applicant prior to the submission of an application. The normal period allowed for formal consultation is 21 days.

Nature of development

Pre-application Stage

Application Stage

Suggested community engagement techniques that could be used by the applicant prior to the submission of an application

Communication techniques that the Council will use to publicise the formal consultation on planning applications

Developments requiring Environmental Statement.

Developments that do not accord with the provisions of the Development Plan.

Major developments including:

  1. the mining, and working of minerals or the use of land for mineral-working deposits;
  2. waste development;
  3. the provision of dwelling houses where-
  1. the number of dwelling houses to be provided is 10 or more; or
  2. the development is to be carried out on a site having an area of 0.5 hectare or more and it is not known whether the development falls within paragraph (c)(i);

(d) the provision of a building or buildings where the floor space to be created by the development is 1,000 square metres or more; or

(e) development carried out on a site having an area of 1 hectare or more.

Exhibition (minimum of one day with an agreed pre-publicity advertisement);


Drop in centre with applicant available for questions and answers (minimum of one day with an agreed pre-publicity advertisement);

Meetings with Town or Parish Councils;

Widespread local publicity (minimum for advertisement in the local newspaper at least one week in advance of exhibition/event); and/or

Leaflets or letters to neighbours.

The chosen method(s) should be agreed with the Council in advance.

Newspaper advertisement

Site Notice

Neighbour notification*

All other developments requiring planning permission.

At applicant's discretion.

Site Notice

Neighbour notification*

Developments that affect a right of way

At applicant's discretion.

Newspaper advertisement

Site Notice

Neighbour notification*

Lawful Development Certificate, Works to Trees in Conservation Areas or covered by a Tree Preservation Order, Certificates of Appropriate Alternative Development, Hazardous Substances Consent, Prior Notifications for Agricultural Works and Buildings, Demolitions or Railways and County Matters

At applicant's discretion.


Prior notifications for telecommunications

At applicant's discretion.

Site Notice and Newspaper advert only if Article 8 applies e.g. affects a public right of way or development exceed 1 hectare

Listed Building Consent Application

At applicant's discretion.

Newspaper advertisement

Site Notice

(unless works are wholly internal on a Grade II listed building).

Neighbour notification*

Development affecting the setting of a listed building

Development affecting the character or appearance of a conservation area

Conservation Area Consent

At applicant's discretion.

Newspaper advertisement

Site Notice

Neighbour notification*

*Neighbour notification- This takes place on a non-statutory and discretionary basis. Neighbours are notified on the basis that, in the opinion of the Planning Officer, they are affected to a material extent by the development. Normally such notifications will be limited to properties which share a common boundary with an application site. However for larger scale developments which have a greater impact on their locality it may, at the Planning Officer's discretion, be appropriate to notify properties on the opposite side of the road or to provide a site notice.

3.14 In addition to the publicity for formal consultation outlined above, the Council publishes weekly lists of applications on its website and provides the list to:

  • Amenity societies;
  • Local newspapers;
  • Local radio; and
  • Town and Parish Councils.


3.15 When an appeal is made against the decision of the Council to refuse an application or apply conditions to a development or the failure of the Council to determine an application within the statutory time period without the applicant's agreement to an extension of time, all previous correspondence is forward on to the Planning Inspectorate. Letters/e-mails are sent to all those people who had previously been consulted or had commented on the application, advising them of the appeal and relevant Town or Parish Councils and District Ward Councillors are also notified.

For instructions on how to use the system and make comments, please see our help guide.
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