Sam Campbel, Liverpool City Council's Chief Planning Officer

BLOG: Why planning needs to hear your voice

John Lennon famously once said: “Life is what happens to us while we’re busy making other plans.”
Well, in Liverpool we sure are busy with plans, writes Sam Campbell, Chief Planning Officer at the city council.

The city council’s planning department deals with more than 3,000 planning applications every year. And by September this year, my team had already made more decisions than the previous year – which shows how hard they’ve been working.

However, we’re acutely aware people want and need to have their say on how their community and city is changing.

Everyone has an opinion on planning. Planning shapes the neighbourhoods in which we all live and work, be it a new development proposal or a policy document written to help shape the future of the city, such as our Public Realm Strategy and design of residential neighbourhoods.

But we also often hear commentary that the planning process isn’t always easy to navigate and understand. How do we try and change that perception?

First of all, the planning service is fully committed to engaging with everyone who lives and does business in the city – on all planning matters. That includes planning applications and how, by working together, we can structure policy documents that seek to drive quality placemaking and regeneration across the city.

As a service we do have statutory requirements to meet in respect of consultation and engagement but it’s also important all those who wish to learn about planning or contribute to the planning process can do so. Liverpool is made up of numerous interest groups, including residents, businesses, community groups and other stakeholders. It’s important that all voices are heard.

That is why we have launched a public consultation on what is known as the Statement of Community Involvement (SCI). This sets out how we intend to engage to seek views on planning matters.

Much is driven by legal requirements, but the preparation of policy documents which will shape the future of our amazing city offer opportunities for proactive participation. We want to ensure everyone has a fair and equal chance to have their say.

We will ensure venues for in person events are accessible for all; if you have caring responsibilities online virtual events may assist; if you don’t have access to the internet hard copies of documents will be made available; and if you need anything explaining please ask!

This SCI sets out the different ways we will seek to engage on planning matters whether you want to respond in writing, in person; or virtually. 

Our planning service has an amazing team of officers. Dedicated, committed, professional – and above all, listening. You can find out what planning applications we receive by checking out our weekly lists. You may also see notices in your neighbourhood regarding proposals and if you neighbour is proposing an extension then we will let you know.

The SCI also encourages developers of major schemes in the city to talk to the local community before submitting their planning application.

So, whatever your interest is in planning take a look at this document which sets out our proposed approach to meaningful engagement on planning policy documents and seeking views on planning applications.

And if you have any comments, please let us know.

Liverpool Waterfront