Agenda item

Questions on matters relating to the work of the committee


Blackfriars Undercroft

A Member asked about the plans for Blackfriars Undercroft and the disused rifle range. He asked if Officers could work with the Sports Strategy Team and City Surveyors as the Sports Board was keen to allocate this space to an outside sporting facility. He added that the Sports Strategy team were locating areas as public exercise facilities. There was funding available for three years and this space could be available within a year. The Member stated that Thames Water wanted the space to be used. An Officer stated that work would take place with the Sports Strategy team.


Standing Orders

A Member asked a question about the standing orders. She stated that they were currently silent on time for debate and the time by which materials should be submitted in order to be taken into account by Members. She raised concern that representations for the meeting on 17 April 2024 had been submitted just before the meeting and she stated the lack of debate was not in line with the Nolan principles. She stated that the protocol should state that there would always be time for debate and she considered that it was inappropriate to have a motion to move straight to the vote at a quasi-judicial meeting. She asked if this could be looked at. The Member stated that other local authorities had a cut-off and whilst she welcomed the City being more generous, there was a need to consider if there should be a cut-off to enable Members to read the representations.


The Interim Assistant Town Clerk stated that under the Court of Common Council’s Standing Order 37, Members could put a motion on moving to the vote and there were no exceptions made for Planning Applications Sub-Committees.


The Director of Planning and Development stated that late representations were provided to Members, however it was not helpful when they were submitted very late. He stated that at the meeting on 17 April 2024, the meeting was adjourned and Members were given time to read the late representations.


A Member stated that at the meeting, a majority of Members were in favour of moving to the vote. He considered that after 3.5 hours of consideration, he was in a position to vote. He stated he was in favour of a cut-off for representations of 24 hours before the meeting.


A Member stated the importance of debate in informing Members’ decisions and the importance of public perception. She stated that holding meetings in the afternoon could help with any timing issues.


The Chairman stated that the timing of meetings had previously been considered and there had been agreement that the timing of meetings worked well.


A Member suggested that to manage the debate, there could be a limit of one contribution per Member.


The Chairman stated that the correct protocols had been followed and there had been a democratic decision by the Sub-Committee to move to the vote.


At this point, the Chairman sought approval from the Sub-Committee 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.