Agenda item

PLANNING SERVICE IMPROVEMENTS

Minutes:

Members considered the current position in respect of continuous improvements to the Planning Service. Various aspects in the report were originally published on the agenda for the DCC meeting in March 2020 and were subject to delegation.  However, some matters required Councillor decisions and had, therefore, been re-submitted in this report.

 

The Chairman emphasised the importance of this guide for Members when determining planning applications. 

 

At the Chairman’s suggestion, it was agreed that paragraph 4.5 on page 173 of the draft Protocol, be amended to read:-

 

 It is often useful for committee members to visit a site to familiarise themselves with it prior to consideration of an application at committee. If Members do encounter an applicant or neighbour during any informal visit, they should not express an opinion, either for or against.’

 

Councillor Allen proposed that the top of the draft Local Planning Protocol document refer Members to the Probity in Planning Protocol and Code of Conduct which required them to follow the seven principles outlined therein.  Councillor Owen seconded the proposal.  In response to a question from Councillor Fawthrop as to whether there were any sanctions for Councillors who breached the new Protocol, the Assistant Director, Planning and Building Control said he would confer with legal colleagues on this matter.

 

In response to Councillor Allen’s request for updates on the recommendations, the Assistant Director, Planning and Building Control confirmed that further reports on call-ins and appeals and costs would be submitted to future meetings of the DCC.

 

The Chairman confirmed that recommendation 12 would not be implemented.  Training (Recommendation 19), should be given to committee members and, if not made compulsory, Councillors should be strongly encouraged to attend, especially if they were members of Plans and/or DCC committees.

 

The Chairman welcomed the removal of lists from planning agendas.  This would allow Members to permit applications recommended for refusal that would previously have been listed under ‘Section 4’ and could not be overturnedas they had to be either refused or deferred to return to ‘Section 2’ for further consideration at a later date.

 

The Chairman stated the benefits of recording committee meetings so that a wider audience could be reached.  This would also help the Council at appeals as no details of the meeting could be missed.

 

RESOLVED that:-

 

1  the Local Planning Protocol for referral on to Full Council for adoption as part of the Council’s Constitution be agreed;

 

2  the approach in respect of planning conditions and ‘Lists’ for planning committee agendas and reports be agreed;

 

3  the recording of Plans Sub and Development Control Committee meetings be agreed and that the recordings be published;

 

4  Paragraph 4.5 on page 173 of the draft Protocol be amended to read:-  It is often useful for committee members to visit a site to familiarise themselves with it prior to consideration of an application at committee. If Members do encounter an applicant or neighbour during any informal visit, they should not express an opinion, either for or against.’; and

 

5  the top of the draft Local Planning Protocol document refer Members to the Probity in Planning Protocol and Code of Conduct  which required them to follow the seven principles outlined therein.

Supporting documents:

 

Original Text: