The importance of positive, meaningful engagement through the planning process is a key outcome of the guidance. To help maintain, upgrade and deliver the infrastructure needed to enable Essex to benefit from 5G technology all stakeholders should be adopting a collaborative approach to planning applications.

Delays in delivering this infrastructure will have a negative effect on all stakeholders and lead to a series of unnecessary and avoidable delays, expense and negative public perception.

Engage early, and regularly, in the application process. Seeking meaningful preapplication meetings with the LPA is a prerequisite of this guidance and the application process. See Table 1: MNOs Preplanning application checklist

Engagement with the LPA needs to begin at the pre-application stage. In order to be beneficial, this pre-application process has to be evidence based and should establish clear requirements from the LPA for the prior approval / planning application process. This would cover what evidence and documents will need to be prepared and submitted and the nature of consultation and engagement with other parties. This engagement stage will include a clear understanding and justification as to what the application seeks to achieve, why the site selection has been made.

A clear engagement strategy as part of the planning application process will benefit the general public, community groups, town and parish councils, providing a clear narrative to help explain what the purpose of the application is, what it seeks to address and the optioneering process itself.

In many instances, poor communications and a lack of collaboration between the various stakeholder groups have led to time delays in the decision-making process. In using this guidance, all stakeholders can play a key role in ensuring any issues or concerns are resolved through the application process.

Page updated: 20/12/2021

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