Throughout the planning system, opportunities are available for everyone to engage in the development decisions which affect them. The importance of communities in the planning system is underpinned by policy contained in Scottish Planning Policy.
It recognises effective engagement with the public can lead to better plans, better decisions and more satisfactory outcomes, which can help to avoid delays in the planning process.
Organisations such as community councils have a formal role in the planning system. They are consulted when development plans are being prepared, during pre-application consultation and when a planning application has been submitted.
Community organisations also play an important role and are encouraged to engage with the planning system. Whilst not all community organisations are involved in planning matters, there are many willing to be involved in shaping their environment.
Community organisations will have a great deal of local information and knowledge which will be very helpful to the planning authority when planning the future of an area, or to the developer when bringing proposals forward.
When responding to consultations on development plans or applications it is important that responses are focused on planning issues. If in doubt speak to the planning authority or Planning Aid for Scotland.
Further information on engagement in the planning system can be found in PAN 2/2010: Community Engagement.
Community led development is becoming increasingly of interest to communities. Planning Aid for Scotland has prepared a guide to the planning system specifically aimed at such community projects.