To receive the report on Community Engagement on the Local Plan.
The Chair asked Stephen Miles to present the report to the group.
Stephen Miles; The consultation and engagement of the new Local Plan would be key to its success. Officers are currently drafting a statement or community involvement and supporting engagement strategy with the aim of taking these through governance processes to be agreed in September. This report is being presented today to get the groups feedback on engagement and how to do that and incorporate your views into the engagement strategy. The paper outlines the "What, Who, When and How" and there are three discussion points at the end that members may want to use to inform discussions.
Cllr. Caton said he was concerned as the report reflects the old Local Plan process that suggested an issue and options consultation at the Reg 18 stage of the process. At the all member workshop, the consultation was suggested to be an ongoing conversation. He would be much more supportive of a flexible process. He highlighted the point that most of the consultation was web based and that would not reach people in the district who do not use technology everyday.
Stephen Miles explained that the document does consider other medium of communication such as posters and leaflets, however he said if there are any other ways to reach out, he would welcome the input to ensure the engagement is successful.
Cllr. Caton suggested using village magazines to circulate information.
Cllr. Light said as a person who doesn't use social media, she didn't want to be left out. Going back to the terms of reference, the Cllr. asked how would the development needs be met and by whom, clarity was asked for on this point. Additionally on page 9 in points 15 and 16, she asked at what point the residents could engage in the plan early on in the process.
On page 10, the gunning principles is a critical point and should be included in the main body of the document.
Stephen Miles highlighted from the all member workshop, the Peer Review Team talked about a series of interlinked conversations on a number of themes, starting early engagement without any fixed ideas to allow the community and other stakeholders to input into and shape the process. The current document didn't capture the ideas from the Peer Review Team from the recent workshop, however they should be explored.
Cllr Freeman said it was vital to ensure people without computers still feel comfortable commenting and will be counted.
Cllr Sutton suggested ward Councillors take a role in the monthly update community and parish council meetings, putting information of parish Facebook pages and parish magazines and assisting with letter writing for people who need assistance.
The Chair highlighted caution when offering letter writing assistance as it may appear to be steering the public.
Cllr. Bagnall with regards to engagement there were 61 town and parish councils across the district. We should utilise them to relay information in their own communities.
Cllr. Merifield supported Cllrs Bagnall and Sutton. Focus groups would be a good engagement output. Public libraries have computers that could be used and members could give support.
Cllr. Lees supported all the ideas that the group had communicated along with the planning policy team. If members get the message out, it will cascade down.
Cllr. Lemon supported the comments. It is the duty of the members in the group to give the information from the group to the parish councils to publicise the information in their village magasines.
Cllr. Pavitt agreed with the previous comments. He suggested having discussions with the parish councils listen, make suggestions and invite response giving focus to the feedback.
The Chair asked Cllr. Evans to comment on the questions raised on Sarah Nicholas job description.
Cllr. Evans to clarify several of the officers in their job descriptions have garden communities within their role or status. They were given historically and human resources are in the process of changing them. They did not reflect the councils view on development or views in the district. In place of the garden communities team, It will be Local Plan and New Communities Team and officers will be identified as such from August 3rd.
In conclusion to the session, Cllr. Evans thanked the group for allowing him to attend and said he would be happy to attend all meetings and contribute in his role as portfolio holder.