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Fire and rescue authorities becoming statutory consultees in the development management process

A response to Welsh Government

RTPI Cymru welcomes the consultation and proposal to include Fire and Rescue Authorities (FRAs) as statutory consultees at pre-and post-application stages of the planning process, for certain types of development.

While we support the proposal, it is vital that any statutory consultee has a clear understanding of the planning processes and the statutory consultee role, along with adequate resources to carry out that role at all the appropriate stages.  In depth discussion with the FRA should take place to ensure there is understanding of the role and appropriate resources in place or available. 

All statutory consultees (existing and new) should understand their role and the impact of the timeliness and the helpfulness of their responses to the vision of planning. Constructive responses can assist developers improve proposals where required and add value to the development management approach.

We note that some local planning authorities already consult FRAs on applications, and therefore if there is any good practice or learning that can be shared to benefit from to assist in the implementation of this proposal? 

In terms of the types of development and thresholds that the FRA would be expected to comment on, we feel that the FRA themselves are well placed to advise on this, it might include issues such as location, materials, design, HMOs etc.  Again, discussions should take place with the FRA to ensure that they are aware of the likely workload so that adequate resources can be put in place.

With regards resources, we assume that some analysis of planning applications submitted could be undertaken to establish the likely numbers which would trigger consultation under the proposals.  This would seem a sensible approach in discussing resources further.

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