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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 25 February 2013

 

Report of the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation

 

Welsh Government Consultation Regarding Proposed Introduction of a Process for Dealing with Non Material Amendments to Planning Applications

 

Purpose of the Report                                            

1.         To consider and agree the Councils response to a consultation by the Welsh Government on proposed introduction of a process for dealing with non material amendments to planning applications.

Recommendations

1.         That Cabinet notes the content of the report and agrees that the response attached at appendix A is forwarded to the Welsh Government in response to the consultation exercise.

2.         That a copy of this report be forwarded to the Planning Committee for information purposes.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To inform Welsh Government of the Vale of Glamorgan Councils position with regard to this consultation.

2.         To inform the Planning Committee of the Council's response to this consultation.

Background

2.         This consultation seeks the Councils views on the Welsh Government’s proposals to introduce a statutory procedure to approve non material amendments to planning applications without the need for a new application for planning permission.

3.         The proposed procedure is designed to establish if amendments can be made to an existing planning permission, based upon whether or not they will have a material effect on the overall context of the development scheme or its surroundings.

Relevant Issues and Options

Current Position

4.         The Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (in so far as it applies to Wales) does not provide any provision for amendments to be made by an individual planning authority to a planning permission granted by them. With no statutory process in place for ratifying non-material amendments to an existing planning permission, the approach taken varies across Wales.

 

5.         The uncertainty about the level of flexibility that exists to make minor amendments to existing planning permissions, resulted from the case Sage v Secretary of State (2003). This case gave rise to the view that developments must be built entirely in accordance with the approved plans and that any deviation from those plans renders the development unauthorised. This has lead to Councils (including the Vale of Glamorgan) refusing to deal with non-material amendments to planning permissions and requiring applicants:

·                to submit a further full planning application to make relatively small changes to their approved development; or,

·                to apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness to test whether the changes are de minimis.

Rationale for the Proposed Changes

6.         To address the issues detailed above, the Welsh Government proposes to introduce a statutory procedure that will provide greater flexibility, allowing Councils and applicants to make non-material amendments to an existing planning permission.

7.         The Government considers it necessary to introduce the procedure detailed in this paper in order to:

·                Provide a legal basis for making non-material amendments to planning permissions, thus providing greater certainty to both Councils and applicants on the ability to make such amendments.

·                Provide a more responsive planning system that gives greater flexibility to applicants to take account of changes as the design and development process unfolds. This will allow applicants, such as businesses, to respond and adapt more effectively, quickly and cost effectively where the need to make a non-material amendment to an existing permission becomes apparent.

·                Provide greater certainty and transparency about the process and procedure by which non-material amendments can be made to permissions, thus reducing the risk of legal challenge against decisions taken by the Council.

·                Allow a more proportionate approach to approving non-material amendments in cases where an entirely new application is not justified. This will reduce unnecessary delay, uncertainty and expense for applicants, as well as unnecessary time and expense.

·                Provide a more consistent approach

 

8.         The Welsh Government therefore proposes to apply the provisions of Section 96A of the TCPA 1990 to Wales (already applied in England) in order to introduce a statutory procedure for approving such amendments.

Response

9.         The Vale of Glamorgan Council is generally in agreement with the proposals to formalise the non material minor amendments procedure as it will provide a legal basis to allow councils to be flexible with householders and developers.

10.      The proposed response is attached at appendix A with the following key recommendations, including referring to the fact that there is a need to set out the level of detail in respect of the types of changes which would be considered to be non material.  In addition it is recommended that the charges proposed for this formal system should be at least £50 to cover the Council's costs in dealing with requests.  It is also recommended that such applications should not be automatically consented if a Council fails to respond within the suggested 28 day period, for reasons set out in the Appendix.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

11.      There are resource and financial implication arising from this consultation as it is likely that there will be a reduction in the number of planning applications submitted in respect of amendments to approved development.  Nevertheless, there will be a corresponding increase in requests for clarification under the new procedure which will require progression.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

12.      None specific to this report, although there are clear implications when considering new development proposals such as impact on transport, energy efficiency and sustainable construction.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

13.      None directly arising out of this report.

Crime and Disorder Implications

14.      None directly attributable to this report or the subject matter.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

15.      None directly attributable to the report

Corporate/Service Objectives

16.      The land use planning system links directly to the Council's Objectives of Regeneration and the Environment.

Policy Framework and Budget

17.      This report is a matter for Executive decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

18.      None undertaken as the report does not consider issues relating to specific wards.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

19.      Economy and Environment.

Background Papers

None

 

Contact Officer

Marcus Goldsworthy - Operational Manager Development and Building Control - 01446 704661

 

Officers Consulted

Legal Services - Committee Reports

Finance

 

Responsible Officer:

Rob Thomas - Director of Development Services