Edinburgh Council’s Planning Committee agreed in August 2013 to provide small grants (around £300) to assist community councils in carrying out engagement on major applications*. Recently, the Planning Committee stated that it’s received only 2 applications for such grants. It has asked CCs:
- Is there a particular reason why you have not applied for grant assistance to engage with the wider community?
- Are there any changes to the rules which would make it easier for you to apply for assistance?
- Any other comments?
*As far as the author of this post is aware, the Edinburgh Planning Concordat is the framework for this assistance.
Leith Central CC’s planning subcommittee suggested the following reasons:
- available funds are insignificant compared to developers’ resources
- the timescales to deploy any funds are often very short: CCs who will often struggle to submit a considered response, don’t have time to think about applications at this point
- unless a consultation can address all relevant households (efficiently and reliably), any quantitative results are statistically irrelevant (or even unreliable, as we can’t check the authenticity of individual responses); so we rely on old-fashioned qualitative methods – small numbers, but free