The adoption of a revised Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) for planning applications determined by the County Council and Local Plan projects.
Reason for the decision:
The Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) is a legal requirement arising from the Council’s town and country planning responsibilities. It sets out the Council’s approach to
involving the community in plan making and its consideration of planning applications
within Kent. The County Council's first SCI was adopted in 2006 and separate
Addendum were published in April 2013 and January 2014.
As the Town and Country Planning Regulations require a council’s SCI to be reviewed every five years, the current SCI requires review.
Following a review, revisions are proposed to the adopted SCI document, mainly to take into account changes in legislation and national planning policies and some minor factual updates. Key proposed changes will result in a streamlining of the plan making process and a shift towards increasing engagement via digital means. The document is formatted in a new way that is intended to make its contents clearer and includes a new section on how the County Council will support neighbourhood planning. It is of note that the opportunities for engagement during plan making and consideration of planning applications have not changed.
A draft SCI document was considered by the Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee in November 2020, where Members endorsed the document for public consultation in line with best practice.
The public consultation was undertaken from December 2020 – January 2021. As a result of the consultation, several minor amendments have been made to improve clarity throughout the document The document however remains materially unchanged in terms of its policies and objectives from the public consultation version.
Following public consultation and the consideration of responses, the revised SCI should be adopted by the County Council as the basis for engagement on planning application and the Council’s plan making responsibilities.
How the proposed decision meets the objectives of ‘Increasing Opportunities,
Improving Outcomes: Kent County Council’s Strategic Statement (2015-2020)’ and the objectives of ‘Setting the Course’: Kent County Council’s Interim Strategic Statement (December 2020)
The revised SCI will be used to deliver the Council’s adopted Mineral and Waste Local Plan strategy and policies in the Borough and District Council’s local plans. These are in accordance with national planning policies and support the County Council’s corporate policies contained within the Council’s Strategic Statement ‘Increasing Opportunities, Improving Outcomes – Kent County Council’s Strategic Statement 2015-2020 and the recently approved Setting the Course – Kent County Council’s Interim Strategic Plan 2020, which sets the Council’s priorities for the next 2 years.
Kent’s mineral and waste planning policies and the Council’s infrastructure projects support and facilitate sustainable growth in Kent’s economy. In addition, they support the creation of a high-quality built environment, with accessible local services that reflect the community’s needs and support its health, social and cultural well-being.
Decision type: Key
Reason Key: Affects more than two Electoral Divisions;
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Division affected: (All Division);
Notice of proposed decision first published: 16/02/2021
Decision due: 19 Mar 2021 by Cabinet Member for Environment
Lead member: Cabinet Member for Environment
Lead director: Stephanie Holt-Castle
Department: Growth, Environment & Transport
Contact: Sharon Thompson, Head of Planning Applications 03000 413468 Email: email@example.com Tel: 01622 696131.
Financial implications: The costs of implementing the SCI are met from the Environment, Planning and Enforcement Division - Planning Application Group’s budget.
Legal implications: The County Council is required by the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 to prepare and maintain a Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) that sets out how the Council will engage with communities and other stakeholders when preparing, and updating, planning policy and processing planning applications. Legislation also requires the County Council to set out in its SCI how it will support the preparation of neighbourhood plans. The current SCI needs updating to reflect updates to consultation practice and how it supports neighbourhood plan preparation. The County is also required by the Regulation 10A of the Town and Country (Local Plan) (England) Regulations 2012 to review its SCI every five years.
Equalities implications: An equality impact assessment (EQIA) has been completed and limited equality implications have been identified relating to how increasing use of digital communications might impact on older age groups and those with certain disabilities. These impacts will be ameliorated by material being available in alternative accessible formats upon request.