Changes are coming to the way pre-application consultation with local communities takes place.
All applications for national or major development must comply with the Pre-Application Consultation (PAC) process. Where pre-application consultation is required, applicants must submit a Proposal of Application Notice (PAN) at least 12 weeks prior to the submission of the planning application.
Previously, a minimum of one event was required to take place, however for notices submitted after 1 October, there will now need to be two events, in accordance with The Town and Country Planning (Pre-Application Consultation) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2021 .
At the second event the application will provide feedback on comments received regarding the proposed development. Both of these exhibition/events must be press advertised.
The changes also introduce a time limit of 18 months within which an application must be submitted.
Notices submitted prior to 1 October will not be required to hold two events but will be subject to the 18 month time limit, starting from 1 October.
Since the first outbreak of Covid in March 2020, all events have been taking place online. For notices received after 1 October, all events must now be in person. It is still good practice however to provide online information for those not able to attend in person.
The Edinburgh Development Concordat promotes collaborative working between the developer, community councils and the Council. It is recommended that an engagement strategy is prepared which sets out how community feedback will be sought. This could include the use of:
- Public meetings
- Meetings with community councils
- Exhibitions with developer staff on hand to answer questions
- Social media to promote events
- Bespoke websites for the development
- Surveys – both online and in person
- Posters in local libraries and other public places
- Leaflets distributed to properties in the local area
Consultation should be a meaningful engagement with the community and should offer the opportunity to mitigate negative impacts and misunderstandings and deal with community issues that can be addressed.