Uimhir Thagarta Uathúil: 
Vanessa Liston

6.15 Social Inclusion

The new Plan is an opportunity to shift towards a more transformational view of planning, where communities are empowered through the planning process. Local Authorities have a powerful role in acting as catalysts for community empowerment and capacity development. 

Inclusive communities

There is an opportunity to explore ways to make communities more inclusive. A  Town-Centre first policy is a positive framework for ensuring that all communities feel welcome and can equally access services and facilities. The new plan should include reference to a heritage-led approach to town centre development as well as the Town-Centre first approach.  

With regard to the minority communities, the Plan should have stronger objectives to ensure that all policies and plans proposed by the Council do not negatively impact on minority and minority ethnic communities. In the UK all new policies and plans must be accompanied by an equality impact assessment. The policy development process also engages specifically with stakeholders that are likely to be most affected by the proposed change. It would be a transformative step for the Draft Plan to include an objective on equality proofing the Draft Plan and all planning related proposals or policies.

Public consultation & engagement
With regard to the importance of community development and social inclusion, the Draft Plan is an opportunity to include specific objectives around public engagement in this section dealing with communities and social inclusion. The plan should incorporate an objective in this section to adopt the Gunning Principles in all engagements. While these principles may be followed in practice the Draft is an ideal opportunity to codify them to highlight the principles communities should expect when engaging on in planning and policies. 

Gunning 1 – Consultation must be at a time when proposals are still at a formative stage

Gunning 2 –  Sufficient reasons must be put forward for any proposal to permit “intelligent consideration” and response

Gunning 3 – Adequate time is given for consideration and response

Gunning 4 – The product of consultation is conscientiously taken into account

Fiafraigh / freagra a thabhairt ar cheist nó faisnéis a bhaineann leis an observation seo a roinnt.