Draft Statement of Community Involvement 2022

1.0 Introduction and Background

1.1    The council is committed to engaging with local people, organisations and businesses to get their views on different aspects of its work. This insight helps improve council services and is a key part of making good policy decisions. Planning directly affects the places where people live and work and meaningful public consultation and engagement on all aspects of planning is vital. It allows communities to have an input in the Planning system and by maintaining community involvement at the centre of what the council does, we can gain a real understanding of our communities’ priorities. This helps the council to develop the right policies and proposals for the future

What is a Statement of Community Involvement?

1.2         A Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) describes how the public, businesses and interested groups within Epsom and Ewell Borough can get involved in the creation of local planning policy, neighbourhood planning and the planning application decision making process.

1.3         The SCI identifies how people and groups can engage with the planning system in the best way. Effective consultation enables stakeholders and the public to express their views. The SCI complements the council’s broader commitment to effective consultation and engagement, access to information and openness.

Why has a new Statement of Community Involvement been produced?

1.4         The preparation of a SCI is a legal requirement of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (section 18) as amended by the Planning Act 2008, the Localism Act 2011 and the Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017. This legislation requires the Local Planning Authority (in this case the Council) to prepare a statement for how it will involve those with an interest in development in the area, including the preparation and review of the Local Plan and Supplementary Planning Documents, Neighbourhood Plans/Orders, Community Infrastructure Levy and the consideration of planning applications.

1.5         The Council recognises that there have been significant changes in the way communities and the Council interact. Access to the internet has increased and there has been a shift towards online virtual consultation, online meetings and visual collaboration platforms, correspondence by email and social media. However, despite these changes, there remains a significant number of people that are unable to use electronic forms of communication and access to information or prefer not to do so. As such, we will continue to ensure that consultation materials are available in a variety of formats and that there are varied ways of participating in consultations, subject to government guidelines in place at that time.

1.6         The SCI should be reviewed at least every five years. Therefore, the document will be assessed on a regular basis to ensure it remains appropriate and effective. This will also take account of any legislative changes and any resulting requirements.

Why should I / my community get involved?

1.7        The Planning process seeks to promote sustainable development through managing, guiding and facilitating the building of new homes, economic growth and investment, leisure and recreation facilities, retail and provision of new infrastructure. The principal purpose of the planning system is to ensure that new development meets the social and economic needs of our communities whilst at the same time protecting the natural and built environment.

1.8         Planning has a direct impact on the daily lives of residents and the business community therefore, it is very important that development proposals are transparent and that you have the opportunity to have a say in the planning decisions that are made by the Council. The public has a right to get involved and the only way that the Council will understand what people’s views are, is if they are told by the public.

1.9         There are different aspects of the Planning system that people can get involved with such as, Planning Policy Documents, Planning Applications and Neighbourhood Planning. This SCI is designed to assist you with the different aspects of the planning system and provide you with information about how and when you can get involved.

1.10         The SCI is reviewed regularly to ensure it is in accordance with the regulations and the Council’s consultation procedures. The Council will notify those registered to receive communications from the planning policy team, that the SCI has been updated.