North East Derbyshire Statement of Community Involvement 2023
2. Getting Involved in Planning Policy
Development Plan & Other Documents
2.1 This part of the SCI deals with planning policy and work of the Planning Policy and Environment Team. It explains how we will engage with communities and how you can get involved in the preparation of planning policy documents. The figures below show the documents that make up the Development Plan for our area together with other supporting documents we produce.
Figure 1: Components of the Development Plan
Figure 2: Other supporting documents
2.2 The current Development Plan includes the North East Derbyshire Local Plan 2014-2034 which sets out the strategy and policies to guide development in the area. There are a number of 'made' Neighbourhood Plans produced by Parish and Town Councils which form part of the Development Plan for our area as do the Minerals and Waste Local Plans produced by Derbyshire County Council.
2.3 The Planning Policy and Environment Team is responsible for producing the Local Plan and for providing advice and assistance to Parish and Town Councils' in preparing their Neighbourhood Plans. Development Plan Documents are the starting point for making decisions on planning applications – see Part 3 of this SCI.
2.4 Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs) can also be produced to provide further detail on the implementation of the policies set out in a Local Plan. They can be used to provide further guidance for development on specific sites, or on particular issues such as design. Once adopted SPDs are a relevant material consideration when making decisions on planning applications.
2.5 We produce other documents including this Statement of Community Involvement (SCI), the Local Development Scheme (LDS), which is essentially a project plan setting out a timeline for preparing the new Local Plan, and the Authority Monitoring Report (AMR) which monitors our progress on plan preparation and the implementation of plan policies.
2.6 Government regulations require us to review the Local Plan at least once every five years from its adoption date. This means that we will need to have carried out a review of the current Local Plan to see whether some or all of its policies require updating by November 2026. Following this review we will set out a timeline for an update to the Local Plan, (if required) in the Local Development Scheme and publish this on the Council's website so you can see when we anticipate you can get involved in the process of preparing the new Local Plan.
Who we consult
2.7 We want to give everyone the chance to have their say on the Local Plan and other planning policy documents that we produce. We are committed to encouraging community involvement with a wide range of groups, organisations, and individuals in our plan making.
2.8 Government Regulations require us to consult with Specific Consultation Bodies, General Consultation Bodies and residents and businesses during the Local Plan process. Specific Consultation Bodies (sometimes known as statutory consultees) include public organisations such as the Environment Agency, Historic England and Natural England, neighbouring Planning Authorities and Derbyshire County Council. A full list of Specific Consultation Bodies is provided in Appendix A.
2.9 General Consultation Bodies are defined in the Regulations as follows:
- voluntary bodies whose activities (some or all) benefit any part of the local planning authority area;
- bodies representing the interests of different racial, ethnic or national groups in the local planning authority area;
- bodies which represent the interests of different religious groups in the local planning authority area;
- bodies representing the interests of disabled people in the local planning authority area; and,
- bodies representing the interests of people carrying on business in the local planning authority area.
2.10 We do not include a list of General Consultation Bodies because they change more frequently.
2.11 In addition to these organisations, we strongly encourage all residents, businesses and other interested parties to sign up to our Planning Policy Consultation Platform to keep informed about consultations and progress on planning policy documents. You can sign up in the following ways:
- By accessing the consultation platform
- By emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org ; or
- by writing to us at:
North East Derbyshire District Council,
2013 Mill Lane,
2.12 You can also sign up to the Council's general email update service and register your interest in receiving updates on planning information including progress on the preparation of the Local Plan and other planning policy documents.
How we engage
2.13 We will use a variety of methods to engage and consult with the public and stakeholders in preparing planning policy documents. The scope of the planning policy document and the stage of the process will influence the type of consultation we will undertake. We may communicate using the following methods:
Website – to report progress on producing planning policy documents and to ensure consultation documents are available to view.
Document deposit locations – to make paper copies of consultation documents available for inspection at the Council's main office, and at local libraries within the district.
Posters and Site Notices – to notify stakeholders of the opportunity to comment on consultation documents by displaying posters in public buildings such as libraries and leisure centres and / or by placing site notices around sites identified as potential site allocations for residential and commercial development.
Direct notification – to notify by email those bodies, organisations or individuals who have informed us of their interest in our planning policy documents; or are required to be consulted according to relevant legislation. We will only notify you by letter if you have not provided us with an email address.
Face-to-face consultation – to share information, discuss proposals and encourage engagement with interested parties through information events, public exhibitions and drop in sessions. Where appropriate, more targeted consultation methods may include bespoke meetings of representative groups, workshops or focus group sessions where a specific issue needs more in-depth discussion.
Digital Engagement – to share information, discuss proposals and encourage engagement such as through online surveys and polls, webinars, and hosting virtual exhibitions, video conferences, and other digital methods of engagement.
Media publicity – to notify stakeholders of the opportunity to comment on planning policy documents using press releases and the Council's social media accounts such as Twitter and Facebook, and newsletters such as 'The News' where timely to do so. We will only use social media to share information and will not enter into dialogue on these platforms; or take account of any comments received on social media or non-word based actions such as post likes, shares or retweets.
2.14 At any stage of the process, we will always comply with the minimum legal requirements when publicising public consultation on the Local Plan and Supplementary Planning Documents. In addition, we will consider using any combination of the consultation methods as described above to encourage community involvement in the creation of planning policy.
2.15 We will always try and communicate in plain English and fully explain any technical language or acronyms. Documents may also be produced in different languages or formats (such as large print or Braille) if requested.
2.16 In case of a national emergency, such as a pandemic where social distancing or other public safety measures have been put in place, it may be necessary to carry out consultation in different ways. If so, we will carefully consider whether it is safe, feasible and appropriate to carry out consultation in a way that does not prejudice the ability of people to be engaged in terms of fairness and equality. Where appropriate to continue with consultation we will take the following approach:
Website - the primary method for consultation will continue to be focussed on the Council's website.
Access to Documents - hard copies of key consultation documents and material will be made available and posted out where possible (free of charge) on request to those individuals that are unable to view the consultation documents online and are unable to view hard copies at local deposit venues, either due to the closure of those venues, or due to social distancing/shielding restrictions.
Making Representations - should anyone be unable to submit a response online or by email and be unable to leave their home to post a response, the Council will consider bespoke measures on a case by case basis to enable people to respond, including arranging for the collection of the response.
Consultation Timescales - consideration will be given to extending the time period for accessing documents and responding, with arrangements kept under review throughout the consultation period.
Information - The facilities related to 'access to documents' and 'making representations' will be communicated in consultation material and on the Council's website.
When we will engage
2.17 Government regulations set out the various stages for preparing a Local Plan and Supplementary Planning Documents and when and for how long we must formally publish the documents for comment. These requirements will be met. We will engage with the community at the early stages of preparing planning documents when there is greatest opportunity to influence the direction of strategies and policies.
2.18 The production of a local plan is an iterative process developed through two statutory stages in consultation with the public and key stakeholders. These are formally known as Plan Preparation (regulation 18), and Plan Publication (regulation 19).
2.19 There is also an Examination of the Local Plan that is led by an Independent Inspector (regulation 24) where people can attend and may be invited to participate in hearing sessions if they have made comments during the Plan Publication stage.
2.20 The stages in preparing the Local Plan and the opportunities for community involvement are set out in Appendix B.
Supplementary Planning Documents
2.21 Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs) provide further detailed guidance on the implementation of policies in the Local Plan. They do not form part of the Development Plan and are not subject to independent Examination. The consultation process involved with the preparation of an SPD is less stringent than preparing a Local Plan, and the level and scope of consultation can vary according to the nature of the SPD being produced.
2.22 The stages in preparing an SPD and the opportunities for community involvement are set out in Appendix C.
How you can make comments
2.23 We would prefer to receive your comments electronically through our web based Planning Policy Consultation Platform as this is the easiest and quickest way for us to record and respond to any comments you make. More information on how to register and use the on-line platform can be found on our Planning Policy's "Get Involved" webpage.
2.24 In order to guide feedback we may issue questionnaires or publish Representation Forms that can be filled out on-line or in paper format. We will also accept comments by email or letter, but if you do write to us in this way we may need to contact you to clarify which part of the planning policy document your comment relates to, or identify the relevant part ourselves, if this is in any way unclear.
2.25 We would prefer that you also provide a short summary, so that we can ensure that we identify the most relevant elements of your comments and we do not misunderstand your main points. Where no summary has been provided, we will summarise the comments.
2.26 We will always set out the ways you can respond, and the timescales for submitting comments in the consultation material we publish alongside the policy document. Comments must always be made in writing. If you need support submitting any comments please get in touch with a member of the Planning Policy and Environment Team.
What will happen to your comments
2.27 We will acknowledge receipt of your comments as soon as possible. This will confirm the part(s) of the planning policy document your comments have been assigned to, and the summary of the comments. You will have the opportunity to amend this, within appropriate timescales, should you wish.
2.28 We will record all written comments made on planning policy documents and take them into account in the further preparation of the relevant planning policy document. Typically we receive a large volume of comments and it is not possible to respond to each one individually. We will therefore group comments together and respond to the main issues raised.
2.29 We will publish all comments received along with our responses through the on-line consultation system and Consultation Statements where appropriate. Copies of all comments received will be made available for the public to view and cannot be treated as confidential. Personal data will however be processed and held in accordance with the General Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2018 and Data Protection Act 2018. The Council assumes that by making comments to planning policy documents, you opt-in to receiving further updates from the Council about future planning policy documents. If you no longer wish to receive updates, you can opt-out of receiving these by contacting the Council's Planning Policy and Environment Team. The Council will keep Local Plan comments and personal data on record in line with the retention schedule. Please view the Council's Planning Privacy Statement for further information.
2.30 Neighbourhood planning was introduced by the Localism Act 2011. It allows local communities to plan for their local area by preparing their own Neighbourhood Plans. Those communities will ultimately be asked to vote on the final draft of the Neighbourhood Plan in a referendum.
2.31 Although Neighbourhood Plans form part of the Development Plan once 'made' (i.e. agreed through referendum), the plans are not produced or written by us. They are produced by Parish or Town Councils or by designated neighbourhood forums and cover a specific area usually a Parish.
2.32 The Council's role is mainly to provide advice and support to Parish or Town Councils developing a Neighbourhood Plan. At the start of the process we play an administrative role in designating the area to be covered by the plan, we then review and comment on draft plans in our role as statutory consultee, and at the submission stage have responsibility for appointing an independent Examiner and undertaking the Referendum, before the Plan can be 'Made'.
2.33 We advise groups considering making a Neighbourhood Plan to get in touch with the Planning Policy and Environment Team at the outset of the process to help ensure smooth running of the project. There are materials available for those interested in preparing a Neighbourhood Plan, including the government's National Planning Practice Guidance, which we recommend as a useful starting point:
2.34 The key stages of the process in preparing a Neighbourhood Plan and when you can get involved are set out in Appendix D.