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Step 1: Maximise your influence

Get together with others; combine skills; speak to the right people at the right time.


Identify your interest

This guide aims to help you to focus your efforts, and limited time and resources, to get the most out of your Local Plan.

Your involvement is likely to vary depending on your interests - what are you most concerned about when you think about the future of your city, town, village or countryside? Are you interested in the bigger picture or is it a more local or specific issue? Our 'Lost in Local Planning' chart will help you find your way around.

Getting together and sharing the load

Consider whether it would make sense to get together with town or parish councils, community groups or individuals to share the work and time needed to get involved in the Local Plan process.

You could benefit from sharing:

  • Knowledge and experience - perhaps others have previous experience of the planning process and know who to contact for information.
  • Expertise - do you know someone locally with planning or environmental expertise who might be willing to help look at the evidence base?
  • Time - attending events and making comments can be difficult to fit in. Sharing the task with others can mean you can still have your say, but spend less time individually.
  • Other resources - perhaps your town or parish council or community group has an agreement with the local library to use meeting rooms, or access to photocopying/ computer facilities.
  • Enthusiasm - sharing your ideas with others can provide great motivation to action.
  • A variety of viewpoints - perhaps you could involve your local school or college and test if the issues important to young people are properly reflected in the Local Plan.

Top tip

Keep in touch with the local planning authority. Call up and register your details with their local plans team. This way you'll be told when the next consultation stage is happening, and how to get involved. You may also be invited to a consultation event.

The way to maximise your influence is to attend events or workshops if you can and, most importantly, make written comments (representations) on each consultation exercise.

What to look out for

There are two main stages when the local planning authority will consult on the plan:

  • the engagement stage; and
  • the formal consultation stage.

These are shown in our Local Plans flow chart.

The engagement stage covers the early plan-making stages, from collecting evidence to inform the plan and developing a vision and objectives, to setting out a spatial strategy, developing options, and writing policies and proposals. The Government expects local planning authorities to engage with communities to ensure the Local Plan includes a collective vision and a set of agreed priorities for the future of the area.

Once the local planning authority has drafted the Local Plan, at 'the publication stage', it must carry out a formal consultation exercise.

NextStep 2: Influencing the issues, vision and objectives

Further reading

Local Plans flow chart

Reference information

Local Development Frameworks
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