Chelgate’s first Live Planning Event attracted over 30 professionals from across the sector who gathered for a virtual meeting with Cllr Linda Haysey, Leader of East Hertfordshire District Council.
Cllr Haysey spoke about the measures that the council is taking to continue the planning process and answered questions from the participants. She said that the council is using all the technology available to make sure planning process continues to avoid having a backlog of applications to be considered later in the year. The council is at the moment receiving less applications than usual, but the volume is expected to increase in the coming weeks and the council is ready to process them in a timely manner. The planning policy team is also starting to look at the local plan review, with a call for sites expected in the autumn.
She assured that the council does not intend to change the delegation process when there is a viable way to continue committee work. The first virtual Development Management Committee meeting will take place on 29th April, following extensive member training and test runs. The public participation part of the meeting can either take place by reading out a submitted written statement or playing a pre-recorded video of the speaker during the proceedings.
Site visits for members are one of the issues that the council is looking for input on from the sector. It was suggested that instead of organising a visit, applicants send video footage of the site for members to review.
Another issue that the council is looking for help on from the sector is public consultations. In order to avoid legal challenges which can slow down the housing delivery, it is paramount that due process is being followed. This includes ensuring that the public is informed, engaged and consulted.
While it was agreed that increased digital engagement will provide an opportunity to reach further and wider, especially the younger residents, there is a concern of the older and more deprived areas losing out.
Cllr Haysey shares Chelgate Local’s optimism in us being able to deliver effective public consultations which reach across all parts of the community. This can be achieved through hosting virtual consultation events, expanded social media activity, as well as increased direct mail with various channels for response.
Cllr Haysey’s final message was a call for keeping development going as moving forward, building will be a crucial part of the economy nationally and in East Hertfordshire.
This was the first of a series of Live Planning Events hosted by Chelgate Local. For more details on past and upcoming events please visit our website.
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