Planning Committee is held once a month. Planning Committee reports are usually available 5 working days before the date of the Committee and the minutes are available within a week following the Committee meeting. For details of Planning Committee meetings, agendas, members, attendance statistics and declarations of interest, go to Planning Committee details.
Why do applications go to the Planning Committee?
We aim to strike a balance between achieving a rapid turn-around of planning applications, and the public's desire to have a greater say in the decision-making process. We have two ways in which decisions are made. These are through a Delegated procedure and a Committee procedure, both of which are outlined below:
We have been given delegated authority for our staff to decide certain planning applications. Delegated authority does not apply to the following:
- Approvals would be contrary to policy
- Applications are of a major, controversial, or sensitive nature
- Applications which have aroused significant public interest on valid planning grounds*
- An objection from a statutory consultee
- Applications subject to a Parish Council objection on valid planning grounds*
- Applications requested by a Member to go to Committee
- Applications where the recommendation is contrary to that of a statutory undertaker, for example, the Highways Authority
*The following are not valid planning grounds:
- Devaluation of a property
- Loss of view
- Personal or financial circumstances, or the character of the applicant
- Some matters covered by other legislation or controls, including building regulations and licensing
Decision-making and planning committee
- Minor applications are generally determined under delegated powers as set in the scheme of delegation. The Strategic or Area planning committee makes decisions on applications under certain other circumstances as detailed in the Councils delegation scheme.
- For those applications determined by committee, member of the public will be allowed to speak if they have registered for their right to speak.
We are obliged to follow the requirements of the Planning Acts and assess an application in accordance with the local policies, unless there are other overriding material planning considerations.
We are required to act positively and to make planning proposals acceptable. We must also include a statement in the decision notice explaining how we have dealt with the planning application in a positive and proactive way based on seeking solutions to problems that may have arisen with the planning application.
If an application is to be heard by the planning committee you will be allowed to speak to the members about your concerns.
All decisions are published on our website.
It is your responsibility to monitor the progress of an application and to find out whether or not it is to be heard by the planning committee.
What will happen at the Planning Committee meeting?
Planning applications will be dealt with in the order in which they appear on the Planning Committee agenda. It is impossible for us to tell you exactly when a particular application/item will be heard, as the time taken to consider each one varies. The sequence of events is usually as follows:
- The officer briefly, yet factually, outlines what the proposal is about, with site location and photographs of the siting of the proposed development
- Objectors have a maximum of five minutes to address the Committee, their presentation will be uninterrupted, with the exception of a reminder from the Chairman after four and a half minutes and closure at five minutes
- The applicant may respond to the issues raised (again uninterrupted) for a maximum of five minutes if they wish to
- Once the applicant has spoken, no further contributions from representatives of the public are permitted
- The Planning Officer then concludes the presentation on the application by summarising the main issues, both from their report and the presentations
- The Committee will then debate the proposals and come to a decision
The Committee members are not able to question the speakers directly and can seek points of clarification through the Chair only.
What will I be able to say at the Planning Committee meeting?
The purpose of allowing members of the public to speak is to enable them to put forward any points they wish to make directly to Committee. Due to the time constraint, you will need to be specific and succinct in getting your point over. The Chairman of the Committee can refuse to hear someone if their behaviour is improper, offensive, or intentionally obstructive to the business in hand. Speakers are asked to make verbal presentations only.
Presentations made by objectors must be based on the written objections already deposited with us, based on land use planning considerations and must not introduce any new material issues. The Committee is not allowed to take into consideration a number of issues, some of which are listed below:
- Effect on property values
- Character or motives of the applicant
- Aspects covered by other legislation
- Private neighbour disputes
- Protection of a private view
- Financial gain or commercial interests
When are the decisions made and how are they publicised?
The Committee considers the Planning Officer's recommendation and arrives at their decision by means of a vote. This does not always follow the Officer’s recommendation; the recommendation given in the report is meant as advice to Members only. A recommendation for approval could be turned down and vice versa. In all cases, the Committee must arrive at their decision on planning grounds, not just because they personally like or dislike the proposal, or for other non-planning reasons. A decision to approve or refuse the application can only be made after the Committee has debated the issues. Members may decide to defer consideration of an application. This could be to allow them to visit the site, or to allow more time for negotiation. Each Committee Member arrives at his/her decision independently. Once a decision is reached, the public have no further role.
What happens when a decision is deferred?
If an application is deferred before the Committee hear the presentations, speakers are allowed to address the Committee at a subsequent meeting when the application is considered again. If an application is deferred for a site visit, the date of this will be agreed at the Committee meeting. This is a public meeting, to which Parish Council members are entitled to attend and are given an opportunity to speak to Committee Members whilst on site. There is, however, no opportunity for members of the public to address the Committee.
After the decision
After a decision is reached, we will issue a Decision Notice to the applicant. Where the decision is made to refuse an application, the applicant can, within six months, appeal. We will advise any interested parties if an appeal is submitted. Where the application is approved, the Decision Notice will usually contain planning conditions attached to the approval. If an application is approved, third parties have no right of appeal.