We're awarded top prize at Royal Town Planning Institute Awards

We have been unveiled as a winner in the Royal Town Planning Institute’s (RTPI) East Midlands Awards for Planning Excellence.

We won the ‘Best Plan’ category for our Statement of Community Involvement or SCI at an awards ceremony on Thursday 22 June 2023. Pictured is Councillor John Ritchie (left) with Planning Officer, John Hendy showing off the recent planning award received.

The SCI is a document that sets out how we engage with the public on development plans and planning applications.

The Judges commented, “The work has been undertaken internally and is based on the admirable professional desire of local planners at the Council to improve their own practice and genuinely involve more people in the planning process."

An SCI is a requirement for all local authorities however, too often authorities stick to the minimum requirements. But our SCI includes a number of measures committed to exceeding the minimum requirements such as:

  • Consulting directly by letter all properties affected by a draft site allocation in a local plan, (similar to an outline planning application) and using QR codes on letters so that information can be more easily accessed.
  • Publishing Consultation Response Information sheets to encourage better informed responses.
  • Placing staff at contact centres during consultation periods to be available for local residents to speak to.
  • Offering to have meetings between formal consultation periods to explain and discuss progress on plan preparation
  • Seeking to use digital technologies such as e-newsletters, social media, Bolsover TV and our town based digital display screens, and potentially holding digital events such as utilising Virtual Reality.

Cabinet Member for Growth, Councillor John Ritchie said, “Winning the 'Best Plan' award for our Statement of Community Involvement recognises the considerable efforts that we are taking to ensure people have an opportunity to have their say on developments affecting them and their community.

“This is a great achievement and reaffirms our ambitions to involve our local residents at every stage of the planning process and it’s really good to see our use of alternative methods of engagement has been recognised as a particular strength.”

The East Midlands RTPI considered that the submission demonstrated a local planning authority seeking to implement best practice in terms of community engagement in its planning documents and seeking to overcome barriers to people knowing about planning proposals.

The SCI will now be entered into the national contest for best plan.


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