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Influencing planning

Simple descriptive planning summary

1. Community plans - voluntary.
Parish plans and lots and lots of local reports resulting from specific initiatives eg Market and Coastal Towns.
Opportunity for formative input: lobbying of parish council(lors), normally developed through community participation and consultation.
Legal requirement on planning authority: none.

2. Local development framework (LDF) - statutory.
Cornwall Council is currently developing a 'core strategy' for development in Cornwall and completing area action plans started by former District Councils.
Opportunity for formative input: lobbying of local council(lors), through consultation and at the examination in public which informs inspector's report and decision. It is possible for local development framework documents to incorporate community aspirations and concerns - eg 50 per cent target for affordable homes in Oxford, South Shropshire, and elsewhere; location of telecommunications masts in Milton Keynes.
Legal requirement on planning authority: plans which have been approved by the planning inspectorate form part of the legal framework for local planning development decisions. Approved local plans and legal obligations transferred from former District Councils to Cornwall Council.

3. Regional spatial strategy (RSS) - statutory.
Opportunity for formative input: through consultations and examinations in public which leads to inspection report and Secretary of State decision.
Legal requirement on planning authority: approved RSS documents form part of the legal framework for local planning and development decisions.

4. Planning legislation, policy guidance and statements (PPGs and PPSs) - statutory.
Eg Planning and Climate Change - being strengthened to deliver tougher targets. Opportunity for formative input: lobbying central Government.
Legal requirement on planning authority: form part of the legal framework for local planning and development decisions.

5. Building regulations - statutory.
Eg from 2016 all new homes will be required to meet level 6 (highest level) of the code for sustainable homes.
Opportunity for formative input: lobbying central Government.
Legal requirement on planning authority: form part of the legal framework for local planning development decisions. (And delivery of approved planning proposals.)

The different levels of plans are 'nested' documents except that Councils (officers and councillors) vary in the extent to which they take community plans on board.

Planning applications / process:
1. Planning officers. Provide advice to applicants and determine some minor applications.
Opportunity for input: write to comment (all applications are published online when received).
Legal requirement on planning authority: compliance with planning law.

2. Parish Councils. PC planning committees scrutinise proposals in their parishes and provide advice to the planning authority.
Opportunity for input: write and/or attend meeting to comment (all applications are published online when received, dates of meetings are published locally).
Legal requirement on planning authority: to receive this advice.
Cornwall Council has funding to pilot a 'local development order' which may lead to PCs determining some applications within an approved framework and speed up the decision making process. (Noting interest in this as a Truro city councillor).

3. Cornwall Council. Currently finalising planning committee structure to accommodate administrative loads.
Opportunity for input: write and/or attend meeting to comment (all applications are published online when received, as are dates of meetings).
Legal requirement on planning authority: compliance with planning law.

Probably familiar, and I hope reasonably accurate 'big picture' - detail obviously complex. Many separate interpretations, judgements and decisions are made by Councils (officers and councillors); at best, that can take new developments in a direction that works better for local communities.