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Site Visits for Members in relation to planning applications

Report of the Chief Planning Officer and Development Director.

Minutes:

The Deputy Chairman re-joined the meeting.

 

The Committee considered a report of the Chief Planning Officer and Development Director in relation to site visits for planning applications on the Committee Agenda. The report sought Members’ views as to whether visits should be in relation to all planning applications or certain classes of applications and how these are to be organised.

 

The Chairman underlined that the suggestion was that site visits were offered for all future major applications and that this approach was to be trialled for a period of three months to assess its popularity.

 

A Member suggested that the Thursday morning visits proposed within the report would be problematic given that Court of Common Council meetings also took place on Thursdays. She also suggested that attendance lists should be published for all future visits.

 

Members went on to make a plea for more clarity around future visits in terms of which Officers would be accompanying Members and where they were to meet. A request for transport from Guildhall for future visits was also noted.

 

A Member suggested that a six month trial would be more sufficient in terms of assessing the popularity of such visits and deciding whether any alterations were then needed.

 

A Member suggested that a list of pertinent issues should be circulated to Members ahead of all such visits in future. It was also suggested that four days ahead of an application being formally considered by the Committee was not sufficient time for such visits and that the agenda planning process should be utilised to flag any major or genuinely contentious applications at a much earlier stage.

 

In response to a question, the Comptroller and City Solicitor clarified that those Members who were unable to participate in a site visit would not then be restricted in terms of speaking or voting on a given application at Committee.

 

RESOLVED – That:

a)    A site visit is offered for Major Applications and

b)    other applications where the impact can only be considered from a non-public place;

c)    the visit(s) should take place as soon as Officers are aware of the forthcoming application via the agenda planning process;

d)    if there is more than one site to visit time slots will be provided;

e)    the appropriate officers will be available to answer questions;

f)     these visits would not normally be accompanied by the applicant or objectors except for the purpose of gaining access;

g)    Members should advise by 2pm on the day before the proposed site visit if they wish to attend, (if more than one, which ones) using a dedicated inbox;

h)    This is trialled for six months to test its popularity and to see whether alterations need to be made to the arrangements; and

i)      Transport to and from Guildhall is to be provided for such visits.

 

At this point, the Chairman sought approval from Committee Members to continue the meeting beyond two hours from the appointed time for the start of the meeting, in accordance with Standing Order 40, and this was agreed.

Supporting documents:

 


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