Whilst these groups invariably have strongly felt principles they very rarely have the specialist knowledge necessary to make a meaningful case to a planning authority. Often they will focus on issues that, although important to them, carry limited or no weight in the planning argument.
I work with these groups to help them understand the process, building their case around the issues that I know from long experience should achieve the desired outcome.
Local people in this area of character near Stoke on Trent wanted to oppose a planning application for a retail scheme, but were unsure about how to make the necessary representations. I considered their views and also the nature of the proposed scheme and came to the conclusion that their resistance was justified in planning terms. As a result I made representations to both the council’s planning officers and council members appearing on the planning committee on their behalf.
Whilst the concept of a Neighbourhood Plan is a sound one, the practicalities of developing such a plan are actually quite complex. I worked with this group to help them in the early stages of developing a plan that was right for the local area and also capable of withstanding the demands of the planning process.