Cabinet considered the head of policy and programmes’ report. This proposed the adoption of a joint statement of community involvement as part of work on a joint local plan with South Oxfordshire District Council. The statement set out how the council would engage when preparing planning policy documents, including neighbourhood planning, and the support the council offered to neighbourhood planning groups. The statement also set out how the council would consult on planning applications, and included information on the pre-application advice, planning appeals and planning enforcement.
The statement had been through a public consultation, the feedback from which was positive. Some changes had been made to the document, as set out in appendix 1 to the report. The Cabinet member reported that there had been no radical change since the Vale’s statement for its own local plan, but the new joint statement had more emphasis on digital consultation.
Joint Scrutiny Committee had given its support to the statement, including the consultation arrangements. Some strengthening of the language used, and some additional signposting were suggestions made by the committee; these suggestions would be taken on board by officers before publication. Officers were also developing a system to reply to each consultee response.
Cabinet also supported the joint statement, and the changes made resulting from the consultation and Joint Scrutiny Committee’s response. The council was doing the best it could to maximise influence within the national limits set by government.
The public and the Joint Scrutiny Committee were thanked for their responses. Officers and the Cabinet member were thanked for their work on the new statement.
(a) adopt the statement of community involvement subject to the amendments set out in the head of policy and programme’s report and appendix 1 to Cabinet on 3 December 2021; and
(b) authorise the head of policy and programmes, in consultation with the Cabinet member for corporate services and transformation, to make the changes set out in the report and appendix 1 and any other minor changes, typographical corrections or non-material amendments to the statement of community involvement prior to publication.