Can you please explain how RiverOak Strategic Partners Ltd will ensure that, during the formal consultation period, the public's expressed views will be properly recognised, recorded and taken into account? We need assurance that the public interest is safeguarded.
All applications for development consent must be accompanied by a ‘Consultation Report’. The Consultation Report is prepared under section 37 of the Planning Act 2008 (the PA2008) and must give details of:
a) what has been done in compliance with sections 42, 47 and 48 of the PA2008 in relation to a proposed application that has become the application,
b) any relevant responses, and
c) the account taken of any relevant responses.
In the Acceptance period (ie the 28 days following the formal submission of an application) the Planning Inspectorate will scrutinise all of the application documents, including the evidence provided in the Consultation Report, applying the statutory tests set out in s55 of the PA2008.
By the end of the Acceptance period the Planning Inspectorate (on behalf of the Secretary of State) must decide, in accordance with the tests in s55 of the PA2008, whether or not to accept an application for examination. In reaching this decision, s55(4) makes explicit that the Planning Inspectorate must have regard to the Consultation Report and any adequacy of consultation representations made by local authority consultees.
The Department for Communities and Local Government has published guidance about the Pre-application process. Pages 5 through 20 of this document deal with the Pre-application consultation process and should help to contextualise the tests described above: attachment 1
This Guidance is statutory and the Planning Inspectorate must therefore in making its Acceptance decision have regard to the extent to which an applicant has followed its content.
The Planning Inspectorate’s Advice Note 14, which sets out the expected format and content of Consultation Reports, may also be of interest to you: attachment 2