Statement of community involvement

The statement sets out how we involve the community in planning decisions and future development.

This Statement of Community Involvement was adopted on 9 October 2019. It explains how we aim to involve the community in each of these planning functions. 

It's important that everyone is given the opportunity to get involved in decisions, including where we put homes we will need, how we create new jobs, how we will get around, and the quality of our environment.

We will aim to make the planning process more accessible to everyone in the community including those who traditionally have not engaged or might have felt excluded from planning decisions.

See information online

We use digital technology to make it easy for you to view information and get involved.

Making comments online might be easier for you and it also helps us to save public money.

You can check for updates on planning decisions and ask to be added to our consultation database for consultations on plan making

Email notifications will be sent to statutory consultees and people registered on the database. 

Get information in another format

We can provide documents in other formats like large print or audio. If you need this statement in a different format you can contact the planning team, call 01227 862 178, or write to us at:

Planning Team, Canterbury City Council, Military Road, Canterbury, CT1 1YW

You can also view planning documents at the council offices or libraries in the district or download the statement of community involvement as a PDF:

Your data will be processed under the General Data Protection Regulations. You can view our privacy notice to find out more.

How we will involve you

Managing the future development of the district

We play a significant role in shaping the district through our planning powers. We make sure new development is sustainable; taking account of economic, social, and environmental issues.

Our planning functions can be grouped into the following categories:

Plan making

The government is clear that councils should make development plans setting out the council’s vision for the district and delivery objectives. The main development plan document for our district is the Canterbury district Local Plan. The policies in the Local Plan are the legal tools with which we can manage growth and change to make sure new development is sustainable.

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out the government’s planning policies for England and how they should be applied. The NPPF must be taken into account in preparing the Local Plan and is a material consideration in planning decisions.

Decision making

Development proposals in planning applications should be considered against the policies in the Local Plan. The law says:

“...determination is to be made in accordance with the plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise.”

When we review planning applications we look at whether the proposed development is in line with the policies in the Local Plan (and any other development plan document that we have), and if it would contribute to the objectives and vision for the future of the district.

Ensuring compliance

We have discretionary powers to take action against development that has been carried out without planning permission where harm is caused to the local area and we conclude that it is practical and in the public interest to rectify the breach.

Making a Local Plan

Plan preparation 

We will involve the community and stakeholders in the preparation of our Local Plan. During the plan preparation stage we will carry out engagement on our initial ideas for what the Local Plan should contain. This could be through the use of social media, online consultations, workshops, public meetings, drop-in sessions, or exhibitions.

We will use our website and social media to keep people informed about how to get involved. 

A 'call for sites' will usually take place to help us identify land that might be available for future development in the district. We will use our website and social media to publicise this and encourage landowners to send in information about their land. A formal consultation will be carried out on an initial Local Plan document setting out future potential proposals.


Once we have written a draft Local Plan we will publish this for formal consultation. We will use our website, social media, and a public notice in the local press to inform people of the process and you will be able to comment online. 

Examination and adoption 

At this stage, all the comments we receive will be submitted with the draft Local Plan and supporting documents to the government. The government will appoint an inspector to carry out an examination and they will decide who needs to be involved. We will use the website, social media and local press to keep people informed during the examination. 

If we need to make any major changes to the draft Local Plan at this stage, we will publish these for formal consultation with the same arrangements as at publication stage. 

Once the examination is finished and the Local Plan is adopted we will use our website, social media, and local press to keep people informed. 

Delivery and review 

It is important our Local Plan is effective. We regularly check how our planning policies are working by carrying out research and studies, some of which will be informed by stakeholders. We update on progress through our authority monitoring report. 

If we identify significant changes, we might need to prepare a new Local Plan. Before we do this we will publish a Local Development Scheme setting out our proposed timetable for this work. Documents will be published on our website once finalised. 

Supplementary planning documents 

Supplementary planning documents (SPDs) might be produced to provide more detailed guidance on a specific policy or topic in the Local Plan. They carry less legal weight in planning decisions than a Local Plan. 


We will involve relevant stakeholders in the preparation of any SPDs that we produce. During the preparation stage we will carry out a formal consultation on a draft document. We will use our website, social media, and local press to inform people of the process for this and you will be able to comment online. 


Your comments will be considered before we finalise the SPD. Once it is adopted we will use our website and social media to keep people informed. 

Getting involved with neighbourhood planning

Neighbourhood planning gives communities another way to shape development in their local area. Neighbourhood plans set out planning policies prepared by parish councils, or neighbourhood or business forums. 

We will support communities creating a neighbourhood plan. This will include sharing information, providing guidance, and making arrangements for any examination and referendum. 

Communities can also prepare other documents like town or village design statements, which give design guidance and show how they see their area responding to change. These can form part of a neighbourhood plan and carry statutory status or they can be prepared as supplementary planning documents. 

Neighbourhood area or forum designation 

Local communities will be involved in the designation of a neighbourhood area; where the boundary is different to that of the local parish council. This also applies in the unparished areas of Canterbury district where a forum will need to be set up.

In these cases we will use the website to inform people of the process  and to encourage people to comment online. 

Preparation of a neighbourhood plan 

The parish council or forum will lead in putting together the neighbourhood plan and they will need to think about how best to involve the community. They will need to carry out a formal consultation on their draft plan before they can submit it to us. 

Submission and examination 

Once this formal consultation has finished, the parish council or forum will finalise the draft plan and send it to us for checking. When we have completed these checks we will carry out our own formal consultation. We will use the website and social media to inform the local community and key stakeholders of the consultation and you will be able to comment online. 

All the comments we get at this stage will be submitted with the draft neighbourhood plan and supporting documents to an independent inspector. The inspector will decide who needs to be involved in the examination. We will use the website to keep people informed during the examination. 


If we decide the neighbourhood plan should be put to a referendum we will let you know if you are eligible to vote. You will then get the opportunity to vote on whether or not the plan should be accepted. We will use our website to keep people informed of the outcome. 

You can find out more on our neighbourhood planning page.

Getting involved with planning application decisions

You can get involved in planning applications for new housing or commercial developments, residential extensions, or changes of use of a building or land. Effective community involvement is a key part of the decision-making process. 

Our decisions on planning applications can have long-term impacts like the supply of housing and jobs in the district, the natural and built environment, and the quality of life enjoyed by those who live or work here.

The applicant’s role in consultation 

We encourage applicants - particularly for larger developments - to engage with local residents, parish councils, amenity groups and so on at the early stage before submitting a planning application to allow these groups to have their say early on and shape more detailed proposals. 

Community involvement in planning applications 

Planning applications vary in scale from small house extensions to large-scale strategic sites and the publicity that we carry out depends on the application.

In all cases we write to nearby neighbours and in some cases, like  larger applications or applications affecting the setting of a conservation area or listed building, we publish a notice in the press and at the site. 

We have always valued community involvement in shaping the future of the area through the planning application process and we encourage residents to engage and have their say on proposed developments in the district. 

Having your say on planning applications 

Once a planning application is submitted, we will tell the immediate neighbours whose property is next to the application site. We will include information about where to view the application documents and how you can have your say. 

For the following applications, we also put up a site notice near the application site, advertise it in the local press, or publicise it on our website:

  • larger developments,
  • planning applications that affect listed buildings and conservation areas, and
  • applications not in line with our Local Plan

You can also register to get email alerts about development in any part of the district. Once registered you will get an alert when a planning application has been made. 

You can comment on any planning application. You will have 21 days to comment and further time is given when public or bank holidays are in this period. We cannot decide planning applications before the consultation period has ended. 

Once a decision has been made, you will be able to see it online. If you commented on the application you'll get an email telling you a decision has been made.

How parish councils can get involved with planning applications

Parish councils are told about all planning applications in their area and we encourage them to get involved in the planning process. Amenity groups can also get involved by registering on the website to get notifications about planning applications which are of interest to them.

How we consider representations

After the consultation period has ended, the case officer should have all of the information they need to assess the planning application. 

The law requires us to consider the application against the adopted development plan. 

We will also take into account all material planning considerations in arriving at a decision; including subjects raised through representations from the local community. 

Ultimately we are legally responsible for making the final decision on a planning application and for deciding how much weight representations should be given in each case. 

Public involvement at Planning Committee 

In some cases planning applications will be decided by the Planning Committee. 

You can attend any Planning Committee meeting.

Everyone who commented on an application will be told the meeting date and invited to register for one of the available speaking slots, where they can directly address members of the Planning Committee to speak either for or against the application.

Find out more about speaking at Planning Committee

Other types of application 

We do not carry out public consultation on applications like prior approvals, certificates of lawfulness, and non material amendments; where the question is whether planning permission is required.

However you can view these applications online.

The appeal process 

If an application is refused the applicant can appeal against the decision. If you have commented on an application which is appealed, we will tell you about the appeal.

You can make comments on the appeal at the Planning Inspectorate’s website.

The inspector will decide if a hearing is needed, where there might be more opportunities for you to put across your views. 

Telling us about unauthorised development

You can let us know online about a breach of planning.

Where development is carried out without planning permission, we will investigate and consider the development against our planning enforcement plan and development plan. You'll be told of the outcome.