(Guidance from the Somerset Association of Local Councils)
Before the official application has been received:
- The Council should provide any information if requested by the applicant but refer them to the official MDC planning site for professional guidance.
- The applicant should be encouraged to hold a presentation(s)/open meeting(s) to inform parishioners and interested parties of their plans. They should be encouraged to advertise these in local papers/parish magazines/notice boards/flyers and use social media.
- The Council should not become involved at this point other than to help all parishioners to gain information about the process by drawing their attention to the event(s) by whatever means at their disposal (website/newsletters/notice boards), once they have received the details from the applicant.
- As parishioners, all Cllr’s should make every effort to attend these meetings.
After the Council has received the official Planning Application:
- The Council should allow time and space for the applicant to make their presentation to the formal meeting where the Planning Application is to be discussed. In the case of the TPC, parishioners can also express their opinions during the public section of the meeting without having it added to the Agenda in advance.
- The Council should endeavour to publicise the meeting so that as many people as possible have the information and the opportunity to comment before the TPC votes at the formal section of the meeting. This has been done in the recent past by using the enewsletter/website/notice boards and social media to good effect.