A Member asked whether the Chief Planning Officer and Development Director could assure the Committee that officers would verify any statement they make about a planning application in their report or presentation. The Member added that this was in order to prevent a recurrence of the Committee’s consideration of The Tulip application in April 2019, during which the Committee was informed that “the provision of an educational facility … is a significant benefit of the proposal enabling each London school child to visit once in their school lifetime”. The Member advised that this statement was unverified, and on one calculation could only be true if each London school child remained in school beyond the age of 32. Subsequent to this, the origin of the statement was not explained. The Member asked what was done to assure that such statements were verified before their transmission to the Committee.
The Chief Planning Officer and Development Director assured the Committee that the verification of statements was undertaken at the application stage, and officers made every effort to address inaccurate or misleading statements throughout the application process.
A Member then commented that, given the considerable size of the main agenda packs, tabling further documents during a meeting was problematic, and further to this, if the Committee was to move towards paperless working, power points were needed due to length of meetings. Members further suggested that officers avoid submitting multiple applications to meetings, that the length of officer presentations be reviewed, and that the meeting equipment in the Livery Hall be improved, with a system like that in the Committee Rooms.
The Chair acknowledged the teething issues experienced, this being the first meeting following a return to fully physical attendance, and advised that feedback would be taken forward in preparation for the next meeting. The Chair added that he would consider brief adjournments for the Committee to consider tabled documents, noting that the Committee was obliged to consider as many representations as possible in deliberating an application. The Chief Planning Officer and Development Director confirmed that the addendum tabled at the meeting covered objections which had been received overnight prior to the meeting.
A Member then suggested that instructions for registering to speak at Committee, or a link to the speaking protocol be provided automatically to those submitting representations to the Planning department, as they had heard complaints relating to the accessibility of the process. The Chair noted the suggestion, confirming that the protocol for speaking at Committee was a public document.
A Member queried the statistic given in respect of listed buildings in the City of London, and asked for clarification.as different figures had been given. The Chief Planning Officer and Development Director confirmed that 2.5% of buildings in the City of London were Grade I listed.