This Charter sets out how we will work with developers, the community and other key stakeholders to ensure that all large and complex
development proposals are carefully considered in a constructive, collaborative and open manner. We believe that such an approach is the best way of developing proposals to see if they can meet our vision and objectives, as well as giving the community an appropriate opportunity to be involved in the process in a meaningful way.
Where major development proposals are deemed to be in accordance with the development plan for the area or, if a departure, have the potential to meet our Corporate Objectives, we will instigate a Project Team approach and seek to manage the project through a Planning Performance Agreement (PPA).
Background to the PPA
PPAs were proposed in the Planning White Paper (2007) as a means of speeding up the delivery of large-scale applications. This followed a successful pilot project, which showed that PPAs added value to the planning system, by improving the planning process through better project management. The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has now concluded that PPAs can give greater certainty on managing the development planning process (such as in relation to timescales, costs and requirements for all parties involved in the process, improving communications and including engagement with other stakeholders). The DCLG is now advising that PPAs have been incorporated into the planning system, and they are endorsed as good practice for suitable applications.
An approach to us about a large-scale development project will initially be through Development Management. However, when a project is defined, it is likely that it will involve officers from other departments. We are committed to co-ordinate cross-departmental working.
A Project Manager will be identified, who will be responsible for the co-ordination of the Project Team and the primary interface with the developer's Project Team. They will ensure that tasks are delivered to agreed timescales and that regular reporting and liaison with other stakeholders occurs.
All members of the Project Team will work on our behalf in the wider public interest and to secure the best quality scheme delivering the objectives of the Local Development Framework and relevant policy documents. Officers will express their own professional opinions which will form guidance for the applicant. The guidance will not bind officers to final recommendations, nor override the requirement for a formal planning application to be determined, without prejudice, and within the statutory requirements of current planning legislation.
Partner organisation commitment
As set out above, we are committed to co-ordinate inter-departmental working. However, for large complex schemes, other stakeholders from partner organisations are likely to be required to provide a timely, proactive response to each project. Other stakeholders, including the County Council and the Statutory Agencies (Highways Agency, Environment Agency and Natural England) will, where relevant, be asked to commit to pre-application involvement. Furthermore, where major development sites straddle local authority boundaries, we will ensure that the joint working approach is fully embraced. The local planning authority is committed to sharing existing information with the development interests.
As set out in the Statement of Community Involvement (SCI), we are committed to engaging with the people and organisations of Eden in an open and constructive manner. Appropriate methods of pre-application consultation therefore play a significant role in understanding the views of residents and organisations at an early stage. The applicant will be obliged to ensure that all pre-application community consultation is meaningful and not seen as a public relations exercise to win support for a pre-determined proposal. Additionally, the responsibility for carrying out pre-application consultation (and the costs of doing so) will rest with the applicant. Notwithstanding the above, we will also undertake a separate consultation as part of the formal planning application process, as a statutory procedure, in accordance with our Statement of Community Involvement.
We believe that Members should be appropriately and openly engaged with the development of the project, whilst ensuring that their decision-making function is not compromised.
Expectations from the applicant
We will expect the developer interest to approach any proposal in an open, collaborative and creative manner. The developer interest will be expected to employ high quality staff/consultants with sound expertise in delivering sustainable communities. All projects will be delivered through a robust project management process and, as with us, applicants will be expected to meet agreed timetables. Where there are multiple developer interests, we will seek a single steering group member and separate project manager empowered to represent the collective developer interest.
We will have an expectation that the preparation of the application material, production of technical reports, and all community engagement activity, will be funded by the applicant. Prior to the commencement of individual tasks, we will agree with the applicant a brief to define the scope of work.
We will expect the promoters of schemes covered by this Charter to engage in, and sign, a PPA. The process will involve the following key elements:
- Meet and review the project proposal at an early stage.
- Agree vision and development objectives.
- Form a Project Team with key decision makers and the Project Manager (our lead).
- Produce a Project Plan based on identification of project issues and subsequent tasks.
- Produce a Programme directly linked to the Project Plan and agree with the applicant to deliver key milestones.
The Project Plan and Programme will be updated regularly to reflect the ongoing work of the project. The Programme can be reviewed accordingly, in agreement with us and the applicant.
Planning performance agreements
We require that applicants undertake a collaborative process with our officers and other stakeholders, as set out above, and agree the key elements in writing:
- Decision-Making Group and communication structure.
- Vision and Development Objectives.
- Project Plan and Programme.