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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.