Agenda Item No. 5
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Community Liaison Committee: 26th April 2016
Report of the Managing Director
Consultations with Regard to Planning Applications
Purpose of the Report
To advise Town and Community Councils of recent changes in the way in which they are notified of planning applications in light of the requirements introduced on Statutory Consultees by Welsh Government through the implementation of the Planning Wales Act 2015.
That Community and Town Councils note the new process.
Reason for the Recommendation
To ensure the timely and efficient consideration of responses to planning applications and to ensure that Town and Community Councils have the maximum time available to consider and focus responses on applications which are of most concern to them especially having regard to the stringent time scale imposed by Welsh Government.
The Planning Act 2015 has imposed a requirement on all statutory consultees to provide a substantive response to planning application consultations within 21 days and has indicated that response times will be monitored through a yearly performance report.
The time taken to provide paper copies of every planning application and for the postal service to deliver the copies to Community and Town Councils can considerably reduce the time available for Town and Community Councils to consider proposals.
Accordingly an alternative method of speeding up the process of notifying Councils of planning applications and allowing them to comment on proposals swiftly was considered necessary.
Relevant Issues and Options
In order to ensure that Community and Town Councils can focus on those applications which are of most concern to them as quickly as possible and in order to cut down on unnecessary paperwork, the default method of consultation has been changed to email with an attached link to the relevant plans and documents on the Council's online register. The Vale of Glamorgan Council advised Community Councils of this change of process in November 2015 and a copy of the relevant letter is attached at Appendix 1.
It is important to note that Town and Community Councils remain able to request hard copies of plans with regard to larger or more complicated proposals if they identify early in the process that they will need these details.
For information, to-date since this process has been in operation (beginning of January 2016) only two requests have been made directly for plans.
It has been noted that initially some concerns were raised by Llanfair Community Council in respect of the lack of broad band connection in some of the rural areas of the Vale of Glamorgan and the difficulty that may be experienced in respect of down loading plans and details from the Council's web site. Further to the above, Penarth Town Council also sought clarity with regard to the process for requesting paper copies of plans. The letter and the Council's responses to the same can be found at Appendix 2. Llanfair Community Council have also requested that the matter be placed on the agenda for consideration by the Community Liaison Committee. A copy of this request is attached at Appendix 3.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
There are no immediate financial implications as a result of this report.
Sustainability and Climate Change Implications
Sustainability is a key priority of the planning process
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
None save for in respect of the requirements of the Planning Wales Act
Crime and Disorder Implications
None arising from this report.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
None arising from this report.
The production of a sound Local Development Plan is one of the Regeneration objectives of the Council's Corporate Plan (R15) and "to develop a sustainable land use planning and transportation framework for the Vale of Glamorgan" is one of the service objectives for Planning and Transportation and the preparation and adoption of the LDP is key to meeting this objective.
Policy Framework and Budget
Planning Policy Wales sets the context for sustainable land use planning policy within which Local Authorities' statutory Local Development Plans are prepared and development management decisions on individual planning applications and appeals are made. It is important that planning policy and procedure continues to evolve to accommodate changing circumstances including the implementation of the various sections of the Planning Wales Act.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
Representatives of Town and Community Councils were consulted on the Planning Bill which preceded the Planning Wales Act, directly by the Welsh Government and Town and Community Councils were advised of the change in process in respect of consultations on planning applications which followed the implementation of the Planning Act in November 2015.
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
Economy and Environment.
Section 37 of the Planning Wales Act inserts section 100A into the Town and Country Planning Act. Section 100A(2), places a duty on statutory consultees to provide a substantive response to discretionary consultation by local planning authorities (LPAs) within the timescale specified in a development order. It also requires consultees to report on their performance in accordance with the indicators and timescales set out in a development order.
Article 8 of the Order inserts Article 15C and 15D into the Development Management Procedures Wales Order 2012. Article 15C specifies that for the purposes of consultation under Section 100A there is a 21 day period for a statutory consultee to respond to the local planning authority once the document(s) have been received.
Marcus Goldsworthy, Head of Regeneration and Planning
Rob Thomas, Managing Director