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Agenda item

Statement of Community Involvement

A report from the Chief Executive Officer.


The Chairman invited Cllr Toby Sturgis, Cabinet Member for Spatial Planning, Development Management and Investment, to introduce the item.


Cllr Sturgis explained that The Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) was a statutory document that must be reviewed every five years. There had been legislative changes since the last SCI was reviewed in 2015, so changes needed to be made to update the document. The new SCI could be seen at appendix 1 of the agenda report (pages 71 – 106 of the agenda).


Temporary arrangements also needed to be implemented as a result of Covid and these temporary changes could be seen at appendix 2 (page 107 – 122 of the agenda).


It was hoped that the new document would also be more user friendly.


Following the last Cabinet meeting an amendment was agreed to the first sentence of paragraph 8.11 as follows:


8.11 We also encourage developers and applicants to engage with local people and communities including Town and Parish Councils and with neighbours, when appropriate, before submission of a planning application.


Cllr Stugis proposed a motion to adopt the proposals as set out in the agenda report (page 64) with the amendment in wording described above. This was seconded by Cllr Bridget Wayman.


There was no public participation received for this item.


The Chairman then invited group leaders to speak before opening the debate up to all members.


Cllr Philip Whitehead, Leader of the Council, thanked those who had produced the SCI document as he felt that it detailed all relevant information in a straightforward and readable way. 


Cllr Ian Thorn, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, stated that he was pleased that the amendments had been made to the proposals. Cllr Thorn noted that private developers could not be mandated to follow the document. It was hoped that the Stone Circle development company would lead by example and follow the methodologies described in the document.


Cllr Ernie Clark, Leader of the Independent Group stated that any improvements were welcome, but that Wiltshire Council needed to listen to members of the community.


Cllr Ricky Rogers, Leader of the Labour Group stated that the amended document was welcome and felt that this was as step forward for community involvement. 


The Chairman then opened the debate.


Cllr Gavin Grant noted that there was no statutory provision requiring developers to consult with the community. However, he requested that the officer reports on planning applications include details on whether developers have followed the process and engaged with the local community.


Cllr Sturgis responded to some of the points raised, he agreed that Stone Circle should be exemplary in following the recommendations in the document and was sure that Cllr Clewer would take this on. Cllr Sturgis stated that reports should contain matters to be considered by the committee and it was not mandatory for developers to follow these methods therefore inclusions in officer reports to committee required careful consideration.


The Chairman then followed the procedure for voting on substantive items outlined under minute 41 - Chairman’s announcements and it was;




That Council:


i)      Adopts the Statement of Community Involvement as set out in Appendix 1 (as amended).

ii)    Adopts the Statement of Community Involvement ‘Temporary Arrangements’ as set out in Appendix 2.

iii)  Delegates authority to the Director for Economic Development and Planning in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Spatial Planning, Development Management and Property to: make amendments to (i) and (ii) in the interests of clarity and accuracy before publishing it on the Council’s website; and determine when the Temporary Arrangements in (ii) cease to have effect.


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