This guidance covers:
- dealing with approaches and requests for meetings from developers
- parish-led community engagement
- specific help regarding concerns over pre-determination during:
- local council meetings or
- local councillor individual discussions.
Pre-application discussions have an important role in all types of planning applications. Local Councils are aware of:
- the importance of public perception in planning and
- the need for transparency in their relationships with developers.
This guidance aims to support local councils in their role when working with:
- developers and
- Cornwall Council on pre-application proposals.
It sits with the 3-way protocol for working together on pre-applications.
A developer may request a meeting before submitting a planning application. Local councils may expect that:
- public may attend the meeting
- the meeting has been reasonably advertised
- the developer meets reasonable costs for the hosting a public meeting including large scale plans for display purposes
- a public consultation or engagement event is either scheduled or firmly planned.
Local Councils can combine:
- a public engagement event with
- a scheduled local council meeting
rather than holding a separate event. The pre-app meeting and the community engagement event may be spread apart timewise for large schemes. For smaller proposals, both meetings can be at the same time.
A Local Council will not normally hold private meetings with developers unless:
- there is a necessary and compelling reason
- the reason can be justified to the public (for example a strong commercial sensitivity)
A developer may want an initial steer before deciding whether to continue.
A Local Council will encourage developers to engage with the local community before submitting plans for:
- significant or
- complex developments.
A PACE meeting should:
- have a venue that is convenient and accessible to the community
- be publicised within the community and to all likely interested parties
- be timed to allow as wide a range of people as possible to attend
- show there is a genuine:
- open mind and
- willingness to adapt plans in response to community feedback
- include the provision of large scale plans for display purposes
The developer should meet all reasonable costs for hosting the meeting.
This note advises local councillors:
- not to attend separate private briefings as part of public consultation
- attend a public event instead.
A Local Council may have some concerns about encouraging conversations with developers on pre-application proposals. These can include:
- requests for meetings with individual councillors and
- how feedback on a proposal could be viewed as pre-determination.
This guidance includes recommendations for local councils.
For individual Councillor discussions:
- councillors must be aware of their obligations under the Council’s Code of Conduct
- individual Councillors must not informally discuss possible future applications with a developer. This could lead to a complaint for a potential breach of the Code.
- the Local Council will nominate at least two representatives to attend a site meeting.
A developer should not attempt to lobby individual members. The Local Council reserves the right to withdraw from any pre-application process in this case.
Pre-determination: Councillors should not express any:
- detailed opinion or
- prior view which might be viewed as pre-determination.
If the Local Council arranges a formal meeting, this wording on the:
- agenda or
- invitation could help:
“While Members may express an opinion:
- for or
- against the proposal
at this meeting, our minds are not closed. We will only come to a conclusion if we should:
- support the scheme or
- offer an objection
after we have listened to the full debate.”
A local council can clearly state this at the start of an informal meeting. It will make it clear that members attending are not pre-determining their position. Local councillors can include the words:
- ‘in principle’ or
- ‘subject to ..’
when expressing their views. This emphasises that any opinions given at this stage are not pre-judging a proposal in advance of a formal planning application.