Partnership publishes report into community engagement with planning


A group established by the Department for Infrastructure has published a new report into how the planning system can better engage with the communities it serves.

The report, entitled ‘Planning Your Place: Getting Involved’, has been produced by the Planning Engagement Partnership. The group, which is made up of representatives from a range organisations including the Royal Society of Ulster Architects, aims to address how people can better take part in decisions which affect their place, and how they influence the way their local area is planned and developed.

The report offers a good practice template for community engagement around planning and includes details of an issues log set up for the public to submit details of their experience with planning engagement. It also details a series of workshops and public events. Ciarán Fox, Director of the RSUA, presented a case study as part of this process examining the Open Ormeau Community Collective’s approach to successful placemaking.

The report details seven different areas for development and gives clear recommendations. These areas are:

  • Improving Place Shaping Processes – to assist with improving accessibility to the Local Development Plan process and other
    place shaping processes
  • Early Information on Planning Proposals – to improve accessibility to community engagement at the outset of the planning application process.
  • Improving Pre-Application Community Engagement – frontloading the planning process with early stakeholder engagement and therefore improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the planning system
  • Access for the Community to Planning Advice and Information – raising awareness on the support available, especially from the planning advice service, and also improve the quality of information available online
  • Third Party Engagement – help the public understand how third parties engage in the planning process and identify possible alternatives or improvements
  • Raise the Profile of Community Engagement in Planning and Place Shaping – including the commitment of senior officials to improve community engagement and raise the profile of the process in public life
  • Develop Capacity and Skills – to assist with improving the knowledge and skill set of both those involved in facilitating or participating in community engagement in planning and place shaping, and to demonstrate the value of the process