by Ed Dade MRTPI
Neighbourhood Plan consultations are an open and public process. It is therefore necessary to collect some personal information from people who wish to have their say on a plan.
Where a person makes a comment on a Neighbourhood Plan, the comment will be listed under the relevant section of the Neighbourhood Plan document. The person's name and where relevant, organisation, will be shown alongside their comment.
This approach ensures accountability and transparency in the Neighbourhood Plan process. Anonymous comments are not permitted. All comments received will be published. Comments cannot be withheld from public view.
All Neighbourhood Plans hosted on the Consult app, along with comments submitted by other users, can be viewed without needing to register or log in.
To participate in a formal consultation on a Neighbourhood Plan, users are required to first register with this site via a simple sign up form [available at: /accounts/signup/]. The sign up form requests users to supply:
To create an account users must also give consent to sharing their personal information with this site.
The registration process requires users to 'activate' their account before they can make comments on a Neighbourhood Plan.
After submitting the completed sign up form, users will receive an activation link by email. Clicking the link activates the users account and logs the user in, allowing them to immediately comment on Neighbourhood Plans.
This two-stage process helps to confirm that the submitted registration data is genuine. It confirms that a person has access to the email address supplied when signing up.
In some circumstances, a person may need to comment on behalf of another person. A common example of this is a planning agent responding on behalf of one or more clients, such as a landowner or developer.
On making a comment, an agent can select their client from a list. This means agents can make multiple comments and attribute each to their respective clients.
The names of both the agent and client are shown alongside the comment, listed below the relevant plan section.
Following registration and activation, users are automatically logged in.
Returning users can log in [available at: /accounts/login/] using the username and password created on signing up. If the user has forgotten their password, the password can be reset using the Forgotten password? link.
Within the Consult app, the 'Manage account' panel appears on the right-hand side of the screen. For smaller devices (such as phones), the panel appears below the main page content after the list of comments.
After logging in, the panel confirms the user is logged in and provides the following options:
The Neighbourhood Plan process must be open and transparent. It can take several years to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan, and at later stages of the process, such as the independent examination, it may be necessary to review comments made at earlier stages.
Consequently, users are not permitted to delete their account or submitted comments as doing so may affect the open and transparent nature of the Neighbourhood Plan process.
Requests for deletion of accounts or comments must be made in writing to email@example.com. Where deletion of account and comment data will not affect the process of preparing a Neighbourhood Plan, the request will be fulfilled. Otherwise account and comment data will remain on this site whilst the Parish Council / Neighbourhood Forum is making use of the Consult app service. Once a Parish Council / Neighbourhood Forum decides to no longer host their plan on the Consult app, related account and comment data will be deleted.