Community engagement advice for applicants
Why community engagement is important
Community engagement is helpful when you're applying for planning permission.
It gives you the opportunity to talk to neighbours and communities to explain your planning proposals and discuss with them any concerns they have. It can reduce the risk of community tension or help to quickly address it.
The feedback from this process can be used to inform and refine the design and technical detail of your planning proposal before making a planning application.
You should do some form of community engagement whether you're a:
- homeowner looking to build an extension on your home
- homeowner or property developer looking to build more than 1 dwelling or mixed-use development on a plot of land
- business owner, landlord or landowner looking to construct or extend a commercial property, or change the planning use class of a property of piece of land
Before starting your community engagement
Barnet's pre-application planning advice service
We offer a pre-application planning advice service and encourage you to use this before you begin any engagement activities or make a formal planning application submission.
The scope and timetable for your early engagement activities should be set out in an early engagement strategy document. This should be submitted along with other supporting documents and plans for your planning pre-application advice enquiry.
If you're unsure what to do after reading the information on this page, our pre-application planning advice service are happy to discuss the scope and timescales of early engagement activities with you.
If you've already started your community engagement activities and have feedback from people, we would welcome you to discuss this with us in a formal planning pre-application advice meeting.
Sharing feedback from this process will help us identify any key planning considerations that may disrupt the application process.
Engaging with the pre-application planning advice service can help with:
- identifying consultation or planning related issues or requirements
- speeding up the development process
- minimising extra or unnecessary planning application costs
- avoiding wasted applications
How much engagement you should do
The amount of engagement will depend on your planning application.
Before you submit your planning application, you may need to engage with:
- neighbours (residents and businesses)
- the local community
- statutory and non-statutory consultees (Environmental Health, Highways, Conservation, Councillors, resident forums or groups)
Engagement will give you an opportunity to:
- identify concerns early on
- find out about local knowledge and ideas
- reduce delays at the planning application stage
Check how much engagement you’ll need to do
After you've engaged with the community
You should submit a Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) along with supporting documents and plans for your formal planning application. Householder planning applications such as domestic extensions that don't require an SCI.
It should set out the type of community engagement undertaken and the success of these methods. Include details of the community viewpoints and where appropriate, the changes made to the planning proposal because of these views.
If no changes have been made, the SCI should explain why. You’ll need to think about how you can show measurable community representation and support for the proposal.
The SCI should:
- identify the scope of community engagement and explain how this has been achieved
- show details of the engagement methods that have been used to meet the expected scope
- demonstrate how the methods used have been inclusive of key stakeholders and the wider community
- have a schedule or timeline of when the engagement was undertaken, include other milestones such as engagement with officers and/or Councillors and application submission
- provide a full summary of the comments or feedback provided by those consulted during each round of engagement and how the scheme has been changed to address these. If no changes were made, the decision to make no changes should be explained
Our role in building public engagement
Our Statement of Community Involvement is built on the good engagement principles of Barnet’s Consultation and Engagement Strategy.
We want to promote:
- inclusive invitation
- early involvement
- co-production and transparency
We encourage pre-application discussions to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the planning application process.