Agenda item

Planning Committee Procedure Notes


The Committee considered the report of the Development Manager which presented an updated version of the Planning Procedure Notes. In introducing the report, the Development Manager explained that the intention of the updated Notes was to clarify the procedures and to make sure they were understandable to all attending Planning Committee meetings.  He also referred to the recent advice from the Local Government Ombudsman on the recording of planning decisions.


Attention was drawn to the comments received from Councillor Mike Baldock, which Members discussed together with the updated Procedure Notes.


In respect of the suggestion for the Procedure Notes to be included in the ongoing Scrutiny Committee review, Members did not consider that this was necessary as it was outside the remit of their current review.


In respect of the suggestion to update Paragraph 8, Members agreed that the word ‘should’ would be changed to ‘must’, and that the sentence should be redrafted to read ‘The Chairman will remind the meeting that Members must remain…..’ as there was already reference to declaration of interests elsewhere in the document.


In respect of the feedback regarding Paragraph 11, there was a discussion regarding the ability of Ward Members to speak at Planning Committee Meetings (and vote if they were Members of the Committee) and the Monitoring Officer clarified the rules regarding declaration of interests, predetermination and predisposition.  It was confirmed that all Members, regardless of whether they sat on the Planning Committee, should leave the meeting if they had a disclosable pecuniary interest.


The Committee also discussed whether County Councillors should be entitled to speak at Planning Committee meetings, and it was agreed that if they wished to speak then they could register to speak as a supporter or objector in the same way as members of the public had an opportunity to do.  No changes were required to the document to reflect this.


The Development Manager also asked the Committee to update the wording at paragraph 22 to reinstate some of the text in the original document ((b) and (c)) which had been omitted from the updated version.  Members were in agreement with this.


Members also considered that the wording of paragraph 21b(ii), third sentence, should be updated to make it clearer that the Chairman should propose a short adjournment to draft reasons for refusal, rather than this being optional.  This would make the procedure clearer to those attending the meeting.


During the debate, suggestions were made regarding the seating arrangements for the Planning Committee Members, which was a matter for Group Leaders to consider, and whether a laminated copy of the Procedure Notes could be provided for members of the public at Planning Committee meetings.


The Vice-Chairman-in-the-Chair suggested that it would be useful in the report to Council for ‘track changes’ to be used so that it was clear to Members what changes were being proposed to the existing Procedure Note. (Post meeting note – as the document had also been re-ordered and reformatted to make it clearer, the original version would be attached as an appendix to the report to Council).



(1) That the Planning Committee Procedure Notes as set-out in Part 4.12 of the Constitution be updated to reflect the discussion at this meeting, prior to submission to Council.

(2) That the wording in the constitution be updated to reflect the new revised Procedure Notes.

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