Thanet council opens consultation on public involvement with planning process

Councillor Rick Everitt

A document setting out how Thanet District Council proposes to involve communities, businesses and other organisations in the planning process has gone out for public consultation.

The updated Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) will be out for public comment for the six weeks (Thursday 25 February – Friday 9 April 2021).

The SCI provides residents with a guide on how they can have their say on all aspects of planning – the Local Plan and other planning policy documents. It was last reviewed in 2012. Thanet council says that since then communication methods have dramatically changed allowing easier, more direct and more digitally focussed methods of engagement in addition to the more traditional ones. The requirements introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic have further reinforced this.

However, concerns have been raised by a proposal for a fee to be charged for comments received by email or letter that are “long or complex responses.”

Comments entered directly through the council’s planning portal, which has been updated, would not be affected.

Leader of Thanet District Council, Cllr Rick Everitt said: “The aim of our Statement of Community Involvement is to make the planning system open and accessible to all, helping people understand how and when they are able to take part in the planning process.

“The changes include a proposal to charge for lengthy and complex Local Plan representations which could be made via our planning portal but are not, thereby creating significant extra work and therefore cost to the public purse.

“However, this would only apply in exceptional circumstances and it is categorically not about introducing a charge for commenting on planning applications.

“We want to work effectively with all communities across Thanet so would encourage everyone to have their say. We look forward to hearing your views on how the council should be consulting and engaging on planning matters.”

Have your say

Anyone wishing to view and comment on the new and updated SCI can do so online. Feedback needs to be completed by 5pm on Friday 9 April.

If you require any assistance or need a hard copy version, call 01843 577591 or email local.plans@thanet.gov.uk.

People will also be able to respond with their comments via  post to Strategic Planning, Thanet District Council, Cecil Street, Margate, Kent, CT9 1XZ.

Comments and feedback will go to Cabinet for review and then on to Full Council (with any amendments proposed) for a decision. The updated SCI, if adopted, will replace the 2012 version.

5 Comments

  1. Anyone read Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy? Planning notices were on the back of a fridge in a dark basement with a sign on the door “beware of the leopard”. Sometimes fact and fiction are scarily similar..

  2. TDC has never had any interest in involving local people in the planning process or anything else – whether it’s emptying the bins, a small conservatory or 17,000 houses they do the absolute minimum and hope that no one will notice.
    Involvement means being proactive, not hiding stuff on a website or in the Cecil Square bunker; it means getting out and listening to people; it means listening and hearing what people say; it means taking that away and doing what people want, not what TDC officers or the ‘controlling party’ wants.

    Why do all that when it would be easier to have a quiet life?

    Paul (comment above) is right – ‘beware the leopard’ it will never change its spots.

  3. Wouldn’t you think that if TDC wanted to involve the public in anything, they’d advertise it far and wide by publishing it in something such as the Isle of Thanet News or similar

  4. It’d be easier to extend the direct notification planning applications to neighbours to something other than the nearest house or two. Make the size of the area covered related to size of application, but at least 100m and if in sight. The council just doesn’t want people to offer opinions that might interfere with their wants. The farce of the old british legion being waived throught with council help at every stage yet not 100m away threatening action against someone who painted their house a colour the council doesn’t like. Also ignoring the listed status of the building next door to the legion. In respect of its front door which is specifically mentioned in the listing. Councillor Whithead quite happily fawning over her buddies in Hawley Square but choosing not to liase with people living next to the buildings, beyond a joke.

  5. Nonsense, LC. Whether or not the council ” doesn’t want people to offer opinions that might interfere with their wants” is irrelevant, as they can’t dictate what people say in their submissions to the planning department.

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