Agenda item

Councillor Phil Dilks

This Council resolves that all current and future applications relating to major sites are referred to the Council’s Development Management Committee for determination.

Decision:

Decision:

 

The Council did not support the motion put by Councillor Dilks.

Minutes:

Councillor Dilks proposed his motion:

 

This Council resolves that all current and future applications relating to major sites are referred to the Council’s Development Management Committee for determination.

 

In presenting his motion, Councillor Dilks made reference to a recent major planning application that had been determined by officers under delegated authority. While this was acceptable under the Council’s Constitution he asked that whether, in the future, all major applications be brought before the Development Management Committee. He referred again to the recent application, which he felt would have benefitted from consideration by the Development Management Committee as it would have provided a forum for local interested parties to attend and put forward their views. He believed that this would have provided greater transparency and accountability of decision-making, and would help ensure the protection of the Council’s reputation.

 

The motion was seconded. The seconder referred to his experience of the Development Management Committee and how he had believed that all major applications were automatically considered by the Committee. He mentioned that some of the applications considered by the Committee were minor in scale when compared to the major application determined under delegated powers. He reiterated previous sentiments that had been expressed about transparency.

 

Those Members who spoke in favour of the motion further referred to the recent application determined under delegated authority; they referred to a pre-application briefing that had taken place between the developer and Committee Members, at which it was intimated that the application would be brought before the Committee. Members did not feel that it was appropriate for the Committee Chairman to decide which major applications should be considered by the Committee.

 

Members who spoke against the proposition referred to the Constitutional provision that allowed any Member to call-in any application for consideration by Committee. Frustration was expressed by some of the speakers who had had applications within their Ward about which there was no local concern, called to Committee by Councillors from other parts of the district. Reference was also made to the professional expertise of the Council’s planning officers. One Member stated the wording of any change to the scheme of delegation would need to be carefully considered to ensure that it was accurately defined, noting that the terminology used in the motion was it was proposed was “major sites”. It was suggested that any changes to the Committee’s responsibilities as set out in the Scheme of Delegation could be considered as part of the review of the Council’s Committees, which had been agreed at this meeting. This would provide a formal process could be followed to ensure clarity and accuracy and that all appropriate parties were consulted.

 

There was also some concern that taking all major applications to Committee may swamp it with unnecessary applications, particularly when considering the timescales within which major applications should be determined and within the context of the Council’s growth agenda. This was rebutted by supporters of the motion who used the St. Peter’s Hill public realm project as an example of a major application that was brought before the Committee and determined within a short period of time.

 

The proposer of the motion was given the opportunity to sum up. He stated that while he recognised the Council’s growth ambitions, determination of applications still needed to follow a procedure. He queried the existence of the Development Management Committee if it was not to consider major applications. He once again highlighted the minor nature of some of the applications that were currently brought before the Committee. The proposer acknowledged that the wording could be tightened, referring to applications rather than sites, and amended his proposition (with the support of his seconder) to:

 

This Council resolves that all current and future applications relating to major applications are referred to the Council’s Development Management Committee for determination.

 

In accordance with Article 4.13.4 of the Council’s Constitution, a request was made that a recorded vote be taken however the request was not supported by the required ten Members of the Council. A vote was taken by show of hands on the revised motion, which was lost and the Council AGREED to not support Councillor Dilks’ notice of motion.