Planning committee is a formal meeting of councillors who make decisions on certain planning applications. The reasons why some planning applications go to planning committee are set out in our Scheme of Delegation. The scheme is discretionary which means that we can choose to take any application to committee. You can view this as part of the Council's Constitution. This must be read in conjunction with Previous and Current DCLG Codes (PDF File, 188kb)
Planning committee is usually help every four weeks. Meetings start at 4pm and are held at at Castle House.
How do you find out whether your application is going to planning committee?
If an application is to be determined at planning committee, we will inform the applicant / agent. You can also view the agenda for the next meetings on our website.
For each application going to committee, we write a committee report. Each report has:
- A description of the site and the application
- A list of planning policies
- Details of any letters we received about the application
- A detailed assessment of the application
- The Officer’s recommended decision
Copies of the reports are available five working days before the date of committee (copies are not made available to the public at the meeting).
The Council has a duty to consider all material planning considerations up to the point of a decision being made. That often means that ‘late information’ (information submitted between the agenda being published and the actual decision being made) is submitted. Such information is always available in paper form at the start of the Committee. The receipt of later information may mean that a matter if deferred.
Who attends planning committee?
Our planning committee is made up of 15 members of the Council
Some officers of the council also attend, including Business Managers, Planning Officers, Legal Representative and Administration Officer.
At the start of the meeting, any officer or councillor declares if they have an “interest” in any item on the agenda. Members may leave the meeting due to the nature of interest.
Before each meeting, councillors may choose to undertake a site visit. These normally take place during the morning on the day of committee. A letter will be sent to the applicant / agent before the visit to ensure access is available. We will normally spend around 10 to 15 minutes at the site along with looking at the plans. A Planning Officer will accompany the site visit to answer any questions. The planning committee members cannot speak to any applicant, agent, local resident or member while at the site.
What happens at the Committee Meeting?
It is a public meeting that anyone can attend. You do not have to stay for the whole meeting.
We normally determine every application going to committee; however, sometimes applications can be deferred. This is usually to allow members to visit the site, to seek further information, or to amend the plans. The chairperson will open the meeting. One of our officers will then give details of the application.
A local member and a representative of the parish council can speak about the application if they choose. They can speak for 5 minutes each. At present no one else can speak at planning committee. If an application has previously been deferred without being debated (i.e. the parish council representative has not already spoken) the application will be heard in full as normal at the next Committee it is presented to. If the application is deferred following debate (i.e. after the parish council representative has spoken) any speaking at the next Committee will be restricted to any new information provided as a result of, or following of the deferral. If a matter is deferred solely for a visit and the parish representative has already spoken the representative will not normally be permitted to speak again.
Any questions that are raised by committee members will be answered by planning officers. During the debate, members will propose and second a decision, this may not be the same as the decision that officers have recommended within the report. If committee members refuse or approve an application contrary to the officers recommendation they must give clear planning reasons for their decision.
Members will then vote on the application, the chair will announce the decision. This is repeated for each application.
What happens after planning committee?
After committee we will action the decision requested by the planning committee and send the decision out within the next five working days. If you did not attend, decisions are put on our website.
Minutes are taken at planning committee and are available five working days before the next committee meeting.
Alternatively you can contact our Customer Services Team on 01636 650000.