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Comment on proposed changes to council’s Statement of Community Involvement

Date Published: 18 June 2020

From Friday 19 June, people in Rutland will be asked to give their feedback on a number of updates to the county’s Statement of Community Involvement – a document that sets out how the Rutland County Council engages with local communities when carrying out its planning duties.

Rutland’s Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) was last updated in 2014. There have since been a number of changes to the UK’s national planning system which mean the document should be reviewed and updated. A review is also needed to account for the impact that COVID-19 has had on normal planning processes throughout the UK. 

All of this means that the Council must update its SCI so it can continue to determine planning applications, support the development of Neighbourhood Plans for individual areas and make progress on its Local Plan Review.

“The government has made clear that our national planning system has a vital role to play in supporting the UK’s economic recovery after COVID-19. However, COVID-19 itself has had a direct impact on our statutory planning functions. In particular, the virus has affected our ability to make printed documents available to the public, arrange meetings and accept written representations. So that the planning process can continue to function at a local level, we are required by government to update our Statement of Community Involvement, which is the document that informs all our community engagement on planning matters. It’s important that the planning system continues to operate effectively, ensuring that all those involved – local authorities, the Planning Inspectorate, developers, statutory consultees, local communities and others – can participate while adhering to guidance on social distancing.” 
Councillor Gordon Brown, Cabinet Member for Planning

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) announced last month that local planning authorities should carry out an immediate review of their SCI if they cannot comply with current policies due to COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Rutland County Council’s Growth, Infrastructure and Resources Scrutiny Panel met on Thursday 11 June to comment on a draft review of the Council’s Statement of Community Involvement, before it was approved for consultation by Cabinet on Tuesday 16 June.

There is no legal requirement to consult on the SCI. However, Rutland County Council has committed to publishing its draft SCI, inviting feedback from local communities over a four-week period. 

The informal consultation on the revised SCI will run from Friday 19 June to Friday 17 July 2020. Full details of how to take part will be made available on our Statement of Community Involvement page.

“Changes need to be made to Rutland’s SCI which will enable the planning process to continue with a focus on electronic and web-based formats, as recommended by the government. This is while there are significant limitations on access, movement and face-to-face contact, which make the current provisions in our SCI impossible to implement. We welcome people’s feedback on these changes.”
Councillor Gordon Brown 

The full agenda and reports for Cabinet on Tuesday 16 June can be viewed on our Meetings page.

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