Planning Aid - an introduction

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An introduction to Planning Aid as a way of achieving community goals, from Richard Hammersley

An introduction to Planning Aid as a way of achieving community goals, from Richard Hammersley

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  • 1. Getting Involved in Planning Decisions Engaging with the Town Planning Process
  • 2. Getting Involved in Planning Decisions
    • Why should people be involved in planning decision-making?
    • 3 good reasons :
    • - enhancing democracy and empowering people
    • - using the planning system to achieve community objectives and projects, enabling the Big Society to function properly
    • - using local knowledge to improve what actually happens.
  • 3. Getting Involved in Planning Decisions
    • What gets in the way of community involvement?
      • lack of awareness of what can be done to respond to issues.
      • lack of awareness of ways to face up to private developers and public bureaucrats.
      • lack of resources to access appropriate expertise.
  • 4. Getting Involved in Planning Decisions
    • Communities need a little help in overcoming the barriers to involvement.
    • For the Big Society to work, communities need to access expertise.
    • For town planning expertise, there is Planning Aid .
  • 5. What is Planning Aid?
    • A service providing free, independent and professional advice on town planning issues to community groups and individuals who cannot afford professional fees.
    • A national service of the Royal Town Planning Institute, delivered regionally.
    • Funded partly by CLG and partly from donations.
  • 6. How do we do it?
    • A small core of paid staff with volunteers who provide advice and support through:
      • explaining procedures and policies
      • helping write letters and statements
      • helping communities develop their own ideas
      • assisting in facilitating community/local planning authority participation events
      • educational projects with young and old
      • offering training to community groups.
  • 7. Getting Involved in Planning Decisions
    • What sorts of planning decisions are there?
      • Policies : the basis and guidelines for making decisions about individual projects – mostly found in national “ Policy Statements ” and local “ Development Plans/ Frameworks ” (including ‘Core Strategies’ and ‘Supplementary Planning Documents’)
      • Permissions : granting or refusing applications to carry out a project, plus all the negotiations leading up that decision (“ Development Management ”).
  • 8. Influencing Planning Decisions: Policies
    • Reasons for wanting to influence decisions relating to Development Plans :
      • Decisions on individual planning applications should ‘conform’ to Development Plan policies
      • if a Development Plan says “ yes ”, then it is difficult for a Planning Authority to say “ no ”
    • Objecting to a Planning Application may be TOO LATE!
  • 9. Influencing Planning Decisions: Policies
    • A further reason :
      • Development Plan processes are also a mechanism for committing the Council (and other public agencies) to address issues , such as new roads, housing renewal, environmental improvements – and can pave the way to, say, a Development Trust project.
    • A Development Plan policy is a major step towards seeing things happen!
  • 10. Influencing Planning Decisions: Planning Applications
    • Reasons for wanting to influence decisions relating to Development Management :
      • Oppose proposals in principle as being in the wrong place and/or at the wrong time.
      • Amend proposals in design and detail.
    • Enabling opportunities for improvements to your community and environment.
  • 11. Influencing Planning Decisions: Planning Applications
    • Using development to enable (finance) new local infrastructure – physical and social:
      • roads/traffic management, flood barriers …
      • schools, clinics, community centres …
      • open space, leisure centres, nature conservation …
      • affordable housing.
    • Mechanisms: s106 Agreements, Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)
  • 12. Influencing Planning Decisions: Making A Case
    • Make your comments as clear and concise as you can, focusing on your particular objection/ idea, but referring to the wider context.
    • Be prepared to find evidence to back up your arguments – do your own research: egs
      • affordable housing: find out how many potential households there are (Housing Department)
      • protect an area of open space: find out if there is a local deficiency (NPFA/Sport England)
      • and guidance from Planning Aid!