A Member noted that further meetings had now been scheduled as a result of the large number of planning applications due to be considered by the Committee in the first half of 2021. She questioned whether Members and the public could be given prior notice of what applications were due to come before the next meeting so that diaries could be managed accordingly. The Chair highlighted that there were clear and strict deadlines around agenda preparation and publication as well as around deadlines for those wishing to register to address the Committee. The Town Clerk highlighted that, as Members were aware, applications were often registered quite some time before they reached Committee and were subject to various pre-application discussions before this point. Having said that, Officers were planning ahead and did have a draft schedule of applications now scheduled for Committee over the course of the next six months and additional meetings had now been scheduled to accommodate these. It was highlighted that dates often changed or slipped with little notice and that Officers would therefore be weary of sharing this longer-term schedule too widely. The Interim Chief Planning Officer and Development Director reiterated this point and stated that he would not want to set any expectations as to when certain applications would come before the Committee. The Chair added that all applications should be given the same weight by the Committee.
Another Member agreed with the general point made around providing prior notice of applications but stated that he too was aware that they could often slip considerably for many different reasons.
The Chair concluded by stating that he was not sure that setting concrete target dates around applications was necessarily helpful, particularly when negotiations with Officers might be ongoing.
The Member stated that she was actually requesting that applications, particularly any larger ones, be flagged a meeting in advance as opposed to six months in advance as this was often easier to confirm. The Chair reiterated his point around the volatility of this.