About 90% of planning applications are decided by the professional planning staff. These decisions are reported for information only to the Planning and Development Committee. The committee has the responsibility to determine the most important or significant applications.
Who are the people at the committee?
In the centre at the front sits the Chair, who is a Councillor appointed by the Council for this role. To his/her side are Officers employed by the Council to advise on Planning, Legal and Administrative matters.
The Planning Officers will usually includeThe Head of Planning Services and other Planning Officers who will present individual cases.
Sometimes, specialist Policy, Legal or Design Officers will also attend.
Members of the Committee sit around the table facing the Chairman. They are all elected Borough Councillors.
Members of the public and the Applicant are entitled to be present but may not speak unless they have registered for the Public Speaking Scheme.
How is business dealt with?
The Chairman will announce each item. There is normally a comprehensive written report circulated with the agenda. (This report is available for viewing 5 working days prior to the committee date at the relevant Planning Office and on the web site). The Chairman will then ask an Officer to present the report, bringing it up to date if necessary. Any speakers will then be heard.
The chair invites questions and views from the Members and the Officer will reply whenever necessary.
Next, a motion will be proposed and seconded, debated if necessary, and a vote taken. In the event of a tie the Chair has a second or casting vote.
There are three possible decisions:
What is the basis for a decision?
- Central Government guidance
- Regional Policy
- Local Policy
- Highway safety
- Landscape impact
- Local amenity, noise, privacy
- Case law and previous decisions
- Conservation of buildings, trees etc
- Reduction in property values
- Ownership disputes
- Business competition
- Moral considerations
- Restrictive covenants
- Personal circumstances or private rights
- Matters controlled by other legislation (eg licensing)
What if I don't like the decision?
- The Council’s internal complaints procedure (complaints about the conduct of Members or Officers)
- The Ombudsman (complaints about the way a matter has been handled – not about the decision itself)
- Judicial review in the High Court