Community councils are as individual as the areas they cover, so their approach to consultations and their capacity for response will vary a good deal. Each planning authority should therefore make a point of gaining a good working knowledge of the community councils in its area. Its liaison procedures should acknowledge local variations and be tailored to the characteristics of the community councils and local areas involved. Careful soundings and discussion in advance will help authorities to devise effective consultative arrangements with which those involved can feel comfortable. They may need to differ from one part of an authority's area to another. Occasional meetings between local authorities and community councils are recommended to keep these arrangements under review.
If community councils are to find, co-ordinate and express the views of the local community, both the community in general and the community council itself will need to have ready access to information on applications and development plans. It is therefore essential that planning authorities make this information available easily and promptly.
Each community council should appoint one person as their point of contact for the planning authority on all planning matters, provide holiday cover, and inform the authority accordingly. A useful way of securing that no information is lost during absence could be to set up a generic email account which can be accessed by other office bearers in the community council. Internal arrangements for considering applications will be for each community council to decide. A regular contact person in the authority's planning service should also be clearly identified for each community council. This will usually be the case officer for the area concerned.