Our partner in Northern Ireland, Derry City and Strabane District Council, has focused on including citizen participation in their Local Development Plan (LDP). The main objective is to facilitate enhanced communication between citizens and planning officials across key aspects of the planning function to allow:
- Early and effective bespoke engagement opportunities as part of the preparation of the LDP with innovative use of the council website.
- Early and effective bespoke engagement opportunities in seeking citizen feedback to certain planning applications, which because of their size, location and district importance, it is considered important to offer enhanced opportunities over and above that set out in planning legislation.
- An overall desire to promote planning as a key enabling tool to deliver a sustainable regeneration of all areas, and one that is open, transparent and communicative.
Both the planning team and councillors have been trained (41 in total) as to the aims and objectives of IMPROVE project and would serve as Local Champions in this regard advocating the benefits of the project within the LDP process.
The expected impact of this co-production service of the council is:
- Removal of public perception that planning is confrontational and complicated, and officials are hard to contact and not interested in public feedback.
- Citizen engagement in all aspects of key planning topics by sending their comments to their bespoke site.
- Interactive approach facilitating more citizen buy-in and a less confrontation. Independent examination when the draft plan strategy is published.
- Bigger promotion of the LDP process leading the planning website of the council to become one of the most viewed.
Highlight the participation of planning counterparts from County Donegal (Ireland) on a transboundary basis that have permitted to freely engage with them as they seek to deliver sustainable and joined up planning thinking for the NW region.
As a result, this engagement from the citizen in the planning development process has enabled the LDP team to more fully consider the planning needs, desires and aspirations of many aspects of their community who traditionally would not or could not have engaged with them. The result is a better-informed plan preparation process which fully serves the planning needs of citizens.