Agenda item

Proposed Changes to Delegated Arrangements in light of the introduction of the Planning Guarantee (Agenda Item 12)

Report of the Executive Members for Planning, Housing & Public Protection and Assets & Strategic Development


Replacement pages for Appendix One had been published and copies were tabled.


The Planning Manager presented the report which was similar to the one discussed by Members at the meeting in March 2013.  That report had been agreed by the Committee but the recommendations had not been supported at Council due to concerns about increased powers for Officers and the introduction of the Ward Member Call-In Request Form.  


In response to the concerns raised at Council the Planning Manager had amended the report.  The proposal to introduce the Ward Member Call-In Request Form had been removed as the current system worked well.  That left a recommendation to make a minor amendment to the Delegation Agreement to do away with the need for ALL major applications to come to Committee.  Major applications that had no issues, were in line with Policy and had received no substantive objections would not be presented to the Committee.


The Planning Manager had looked back over the last two years and during that time 45 major applications had been presented to the Committee which had not been a good use of Members’ time.  They included applications for large chicken sheds and for minor alterations to windows on previously approved major applications.  


The Planning Manager also pointed out that the new Planning Guarantee came into force on 1 October 2013 which meant that the Council would have to pay back planning fees for applications not determined within 26 weeks.  Most major applications came to the Committee within that time, but if they required a legal agreement and that had not been signed within the 26 weeks it could lead to costs.


The Chairman said that he wanted the Committee to have time to give due consideration to those applications that needed it.  He asked Members to support the recommendation when it was presented to Council.


Councillor Claussen agreed.  Members could still call in applications through the Chairman.  The more applications that were delegated the better as it made the Committee more efficient and gave it time to consider the contentious issues.


Councillor North suggested that the Chairman should speak to the Planning Committee Members and substitutes that were not present to ensure that they were all in agreement at Council.


It was clarified that all major applications raising local concerns would come to the Committee under the new agreement.  The first three items on the Schedule would still have come to the Committee, but the last three would not.


The Chairman also advised that not all applications that were called-in would come to Committee as sometimes there was no justification and he would take responsibility for that.  It was up to Members to notify their Parishes that not all applications were suitable for Committee.


Councillor Bambridge thought that the call-in system should be strong and enshrined in Policy.


Councillor Claussen said that the Committee could only be as good as the Policies it made its decisions by and they needed to be looked at continuously.


RESOLVED to RECOMMEND TO COUNCIL that the Council’s Delegated Arrangements be amended as follows:


(1)       Delegated authority is given to the Director to:


Issue all decisions for Planning Applications (as defined below) except those applications which are of a major or significant nature (as defined below) where the Director considers that, on balance, and after taking into account all material considerations including Human Rights Acts issues, the decision would be in compliance overall with the policies contained in the Local Plan, Neighbourhood Plans, and Government guidance.


The above power is subject to the following:


1A       A weekly list being sent to all Members containing details of Planning Applications received.

1B       The right for a Ward Member in relation to their own or an adjoining Ward and the Chairman of Planning Committee jointly (i.e. if both are in agreement) to require a Planning Application to be referred to and decided by the Planning Committee if the following conditions are met:

(i)     A written notice must be received from the Ward Member by the Director or a Capita Symonds’ Director or Principal Planning Officer within 23 days of the publication of that application on the weekly list requesting the referral of the application to the Committee.

(ii)  The request only to have effect if it contains proper planning reasons for consideration by Committee. 

(iii) The Chairman of Planning Committeemust agree that the proposed referral to the Committee is appropriate. 

1C.      “Planning Applications” for the purposes of these delegations include applications, notifications or consultations in connection with the following:

         applications for or in connection with planning permissions (including those for amendments); advertisement consents; listed buildings; conservation area consents; demolitions; overhead power lines; telecommunications; applications or notifications from public authorities; agricultural notifications; minor amendments; variation or removal of conditions

1D       “Major Applications” for the purposes of these delegations are defined as those proposals for:

·        10 or more dwellings;

·        Residential development on sites of 0.5 hectares or more;

·        The provision of a building or buildings where the floor space to be created by the development is 1,000 square metres or more;

·        Development carried out on a site having an area of one hectare or more;

         Except that those ‘Major Applications’ which are in the opinion of the Director the subject of no significant public comment contrary to the recommendation of officers can be determined by the Director as if they did not fall within the term Major Applications but otherwise in accordance with these Delegations.

1E       “Significant Applications” will include those which

·        officers may wish to approve which are contrary to policy or the provisions of the National Planning Policy Framework (as amended or subsequently amended).

·        those which, in the opinion of the Director and the Chairman of Planning Committee, are of particular sensitivity locally

·        applications submitted by the District Council

·        all applications by Members, Senior Officers of the Council or by staff employed directly by the Council or Capita Symonds in the discharge of its statutory planning functions (where the Director is aware that the application is by or on behalf of a Member or Officer).  The term “Senior Officers” of the Council in this context means those employed at Head of Service level or above.

1F.      The Vice-Chairman of the Planning Committee can exercise the powers of the Chairman under 1B above in the absence or unavailability of the Chairman.


(2)   Power for the Directorto make decisions as necessary for the processing of applications, including any decision required under the Habitats Regulations and Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations.


Note: The term “Director” includes any other duly authorised officer.


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