Issue - meetings

Constitution - planning delegations

Meeting: 18/07/2019 - Council (Item 81)

81 Constitution - Determination of Planning Applications pdf icon PDF 121 KB

Report of Report of Councillor Paul Claussen, Deputy Leader & Executive Member for Governance and Councillor Gordon Bambridge, Executive Member for Planning.


The Deputy Leader, Councillor Paul Claussen presented the report. 


The report related to a decision made by the Planning Committee at its meeting on 8 April 2019 to amend the existing scheme of delegations to Officers, and to establish a Chairman’s Panel. 


Members were informed that the Council had been subject to a Peer Review of the Planning Committee in spring 2018 where it had recommended that the Council should regularly review delegations to Officers to determine planning applications, and the ability of Councillors to request call-ins to the Committee.  These changes would make the planning system more efficient by having fewer applications to consider at the Planning Committee.


Councillor Atterwill felt that since the May Elections, the membership of the Planning Committee had changed and he did not believe it was appropriate at this stage to consider this proposal.  He believed that the need for a Chairman’s Panel was sound and supported the proposal in principle but he had concerns about the current wording of the recommendations.  He asked if training would be available to any Members who perhaps had limited planning knowledge to help prepare them for the proposed call-in form which was going to be introduced.  Having considered the proposals and researched the adopted Constitution covering a Chairman’s Panel at South Holland District Council he believed that, in order to provide political balance and oversight, to ensure efficient decision making, the following amendment should be made to the Officer’s report.  He then drew Members’ attention to Appendix A of the report, Section F and proposed that the 3rd paragraph of Section F should be deleted in its entirety and replaced with the following wording:


“The Chairman’s Panel comprise of 3 Planning Committee Members following as closely as possible to the political balance of the Planning Committee and shall include the Chairman of the Planning Committee, or in their absence, the Vice-Chairman of the Planning Committee.  Relevant Ward Members or a substitute may attend meetings of the Chairman’s Panel when the Panel is to consider an item that related specifically to that Members Ward”.


Councillor Atterwill pointed out that this closely reflected what was in the South Holland District Council’s Constitution and he had been advised by a Breckland Executive Director that it seemed to work very well. 


Additionally, paragraph 4 of the same Appendix (Appendix A), he felt that this paragraph should be deleted in its entirety and replaced with the following wording:


“The Panel shall be convened on an adhoc basis as required.  Membership should be on a rolling basis to be determined by the Planning Committee Members at each of its meetings”. 


Councillor Atterwill said that he had discussed these changes with the Chairman of the Planning Committee and felt that there should be a standing item on the agenda at the monthly meetings where it could be decided who would be on the Panel for the following month.  This should be the Chairman or the Vice-Chairman, and to maintain Political Balance, one Conservative  ...  view the full minutes text for item 81