Agenda Item No.
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
CABINET: 9TH FEBRUARY 2015
REFERENCE FROM PLANNING COMMITTEE: 15TH JANUARY 2015
“ GENERAL PLANNING MATTERS (DDS) –
(i) Welsh Government Consultation
The Committee received a report updating Members on the Welsh Government (WG) consultation and to recommend an appropriate response to those consultations.
The Committee was informed that as part of the implementation of the proposed changes to the Planning System in Wales, which will be introduced through the Planning (Wales) Bill, a number of consultation papers had been released seeking the views of interested parties with regard to the above. Issues such as introducing a national design policy, making pre-application submission mandatory, reviewing the size and makeup of planning committees and the powers of delegation available to Councils and reviewing the fees for the submission of planning applications to a Council were all considered in these consultations.
The consultation papers attached at Appendix A to the report included a set of specific questions to which the WG was requesting views. The closing date for replies was 16th January 2015.
The proposed responses to the consultation papers point out concerns with issues such as:
• Requiring the refund of planning fees if a decision was not made within a specified timescale
• Requiring a mandatory pre-application submission process for major applications (possibly without any new fee)
• New limits on the size and make up of planning committees
• A proposed national scheme of delegation.
The issues were addressed individually in the consultation responses attached at Appendix B to the report.
Following the presentation of the report, a discussion ensued in which the following questions and issues were put forward by Members:
A Member asked what the Local Planning Authority’s response was in regard to the question on Planning Committee membership in multi-Member wards.
The Operational Manager for Development Control advised that it would be almost impossible to get a full Planning Committee together if these rules were to be enforced. He further informed the Committee that this point had been made in the consultation response to Welsh Government.
A Member asked if a Planning Committee did not endorse an Officer’s recommendations for a planning application, and it went to appeal, whether the individual Members would be required to attend the appeal and what support would the Members receive from the Local Planning Authority?
The Operational Manager for Development Control informed the Committee that Welsh Government was attempting to impose a Wales-wide constitution and lead Welsh Councils had come out against this. He advised that there would be no specific implications for individual Members and any Member required to attend an appeal would receive the full support of the Local Planning Authority. He further advised that the only issue would be that if Welsh Government requested that a Member appeared at an appeal and the Member declined, costs could be awarded, as this would be regarded as bad practice.
A Member raised the possibility of suggesting to Welsh Government a sliding scale for the refund of planning fees.
The Operational Manager for Development Control advised that the response to the consultation had made the point that the refund of Planning fees was seen to be micro-management of the planning process. He advised that a sliding scale could be suggested to Welsh Government within the consultation document, however, the planning process required work by Officers, and the possible effect of refunding fees could be free planning applications. He advised that the introduction of refunds for application fees showed a lack of understanding in relation to the financial situation in Wales and that this point had been made in the consultation response to Welsh Government.
Following consideration of the report and the consultation responses, the Committee
(1) T H A T the content of the report be noted and the response to the consultation agreed.
(2) That the matter be referred to Cabinet for information.
Reasons for decisions
(1) To allow the Council to respond to the consultation.
(2) To inform Cabinet of the views of Planning Committee when responding to the consultation.”
Attached as Appendix – Report to Planning Committee: 15th January, 2015