Norfolk Vanguard

Enquiry received via email

Norfolk Vanguard

06 October 2017
Jenny Smedley


This is a general question on Projects of National Importance and the Statutory Consultations that I hope you can help with, as to us people ‘on the ground’ these parts of the process are most puzzling and, a lot of the time, most infuriating.
Can you tell us why the very people who should be available to represent the residents at this time, and those with the most knowledge of the village in general, and it’s needs, are effectively gagged by the consultation process?
I’m talking about our Parish Councils, who are apparently, only able to speak for or against a proposal, once siting has been decided and planning permission has been applied for.
It seems totally bizarre to us that our PC are not allowed to give an opinions, good or bad, on the various proposals being considered for planning applications. Because of course by the time planning applications go in, the site has been refined and chosen and would be, at that stage, almost impossible to change.
Surely the PC, as our representative body, should be consulted, and allowed to represent Necton, before the final site is chosen, ie before planning is applied for, as afterwards it is far too late for them to have any useful input.
Please can you help us with this, as it has caused terrible dissent and fracturing of the society of our village because so many people think that the PC is not responding by choice, and don’t understand that they are effectively gagged by the terms of the consultation process?

Advice given

Parish Councils are one of the bodies we would expect the developer to engage with at the pre-application stage. As advised previously, as the projects have not yet been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate we have no formal powers to intervene on consultees behalf therefore if the Parish Council has concerns about the consultation process then they should contact the developer directly to make their concerns heard as the Applicant has a statutory duty to take their views into account. If the Parish Council feels their views are not being taken into account I would advise them to contact the local authority.