EFFECTIVE PUBLIC CONSULTATION
15. There are a number of ways in which the statutory planning system requires publicity to be given to development proposals. For example, immediate neighbours to any proposed development must be notified when planning applications are lodged, and community councils are advised of all applications within their areas. In addition, certain types of development must be advertised through public notice in a local newspaper, as must all proposals which would constitute a departure from the development plan. These statutory requirements all relate to actions to be carried out after plans have been drawn up and a planning application has been lodged.
16. In addition, and as a key element of the modernisation of the planning system, new procedures are being introduced to ensure effective pre-application consultations in certain circumstances, such as where an Environmental Impact Assessment is necessary or where the development would be significantly contrary to the development plan. Where relevant, these new procedures will apply to local authority interest developments. Further advice on effective public consultation is given in PAN 81: Community Engagement - Planning with People.
17. These statutory consultation requirements should be seen as the minimum level of local consultation. Proposals where the local authority has some involvement in the development, but is also the decision-maker, can naturally lead to some suspicion or scepticism by local people. Therefore it is particularly important that people have an understanding of what is being proposed, and why. The quality of local consultation will be a factor Scottish Ministers will consider when deliberating over planning applications that have been notified to them (see paragraphs 40 to 43).