Agenda item

Protocol for the submission of Planning Application Representations


The Executive Member for Planning and Growth presented the Protocol for the submission of Planning Application Representations report. She said that the proposal was to ensure that the Development Management Committee continued to operate in an efficient manner and to avoid delays in decision making.


The Executive Member for Planning and Growth said that in most cases, representations were made and received during the consultation period and officers were able to consider them in full and formulate a committee report. She said that further representations were often made after the agenda was published and some representations were so substantive that it was difficult to fully consider them and provide advice to Members which sometimes meant the meeting had to be adjourned or reconvened.


The Executive Member for Planning and Growth said that the report proposed that the council adopt a position that all representations should be received by 5pm, three working days before the meeting. She said that this would give Officers two working days to consider all representations. She said that there was no intention to curtail the legitimate right of all stakeholders to submit representations but was to encourage all parties to act in a reasonable way so the committee can be correctly advised.


Councillor Goodeve proposed that the recommendation in the report be supported. Councillor Huggins seconded the proposal.


Councillor Goldspink said she supported the idea behind the proposals but proposed an amendment to the deadline for submitting representations. She proposed that the words “should be received by the council not later than 5pm on the third working day prior to” with “should be received by the council not later than midnight on the Sunday before the DMC meeting on the Wednesday”.


Councillor Dumont seconded the amendment.


Councillor Goodeve said that the addition of a Sunday deadline would not be transferable when a Development Management Committee was held on another weekday.


Councillor E Buckmaster said that he could not agree with the amendment and understood the substantial work that Officers and Members have when representations come in late.


Councillor Deering spoke as the Chairman of the Development Management Committee and said he was not supportive of the amendment. He said that it was crucial for officers to have enough time to consider the representation and to advise and guide Members. He said the proposal from Councillor Goodeve was sensible and reasonable.


Councillor Crofton said he was supportive of the original proposals. He said that in future it should be considered that more weight was given to local Members representations as they had local knowledge.


Councillor Kemp asked in what circumstances were late representations received and questioned how effective the protocol would be at stopping the late representations.


Councillor Goodeve said that it would not prevent late representations but it would send a strong message as to how the council would like things to operate. She said that she suspected that the late submission of representations was being used on purpose to frustrate or delay applications.


Councillor Goldspink responded to the points made. She said she respected the amount of work undertaken by the planning officers but said many late representations were in response to the agenda being published and this deadline would not leave much time for the public to submit their comments. She said the Sunday deadline would make it fairer for the public.


The motion to support the amendments having been proposed and seconded was put to the meeting and upon a vote being taken, was declared LOST.


The meeting returned to debating the original proposal.


Councillor Crystall asked if it could be considered that the publication of the agenda could be brought forward a few days to give residents a fair chance at responding.


Councillor Goodeve said that it was not resident submissions that were presenting the department with challenges, it was the letters from legal firms.


The Head of Legal and Democratic Services said that the publishing of agendas was set out in legislation so was not something the council could change.


Councillor Curtis said that Councillor Goodeve had outlined the issue faced with legal firms putting in representations to delay the decision. He said that applications had a long consultation period and the Development Management Committee was often many months after the consultation period. He said that he didn’t want the council taking longer to determine planning applications than they already were. 


Councillor Deering said the planning process was not responsive. He said the notification of a planning application was sent out a long time before the decision was made.


Councillor Haysey said she was aware of extraordinarily long legal letters that had previously been submitted for strategic sites and said that they were unlikely to have be written after the agenda had been published.


Councillor Redfern questioned if the time deadline would change if the meeting was held in the day.


Councillor Dumont asked if this protocol was enforceable.


Councillor Goodeve said that the protocol outlined how the council would like its committee to operate. She said the council could not refuse late representations but complex legal documents needed time to be considered. She said the protocol would ensure things operated fairly for both residents and members.


Councillor Drake referred to Councillor Redfern’s comment regarding daytime meetings. She said the start time of the meeting was irrelevant because the three working day deadline did not include the day of the meeting.


The motion to support the recommendations having been proposed and seconded was put to the meeting and upon a vote being taken, was declared CARRIED.


RESOLVED – That (A) the Council adopt a Protocol in relation to the submission of representations regarding planning and other related applications that are due to be reported to the Development Management Committee as set out in Appendix 1 to this report; and

(B) delegation be given to the Head of Planning and Building Control in consultation with the Executive Member for Planning and Growth to revise and amend the detailed wording of the Protocol, as set out in Appendix 1 to this report, prior to its publication.


Supporting documents: