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Agenda Item No.

 

 

THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL

 

PLANNING COMMITTEE: 13 FEBRUARY 2014

 

REFERENCE FROM CABINET: 27 JANUARY 2014

 

 

C2181      THIRD PARTY INVOLVEMENT AT PLANNING COMMITTEE AND FUTURE WORKING ARRANGEMENTS OF PLANNING COMMITTEE (RIPT) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT) –

 

Members were informed of progress being made to allow third party involvement at Planning Committee and alterations to the future working arrangements of Planning Committee.

 

In early December, the Welsh Government (WG) published a draft Planning Bill entitled 'Positive Planning for a Better Wales'.  An important part of the evidence gathering for the Bill was an Independent Advisory Group (IAG) report published in September 2012. 

 

Amongst its findings, the report recognised the critical role of Planning Committees in the land use planning system and recommended that the workings of Committee be made as efficient and effective as possible.

 

In response to the IAG report, WG invited the Royal Town Planning Institute in Wales (RTPI Cymru) to draw together expertise to oversee a study into the operation of Planning Committees.  The recommendations had been considered by WG and had been incorporated into the consultation paper into the draft Planning Bill.  There were elements within the consultation that the  Council, had already implemented such as an effective scheme of delegation, customer care initiatives and Member training.  A key element that was currently not implemented in this Council related to third party involvement at Planning Committee.

 

In addition, and also of relevance was the fact that the Council's Corporate Plan also included an action for the development of a protocol for the public to give evidence at Planning Committees (action CL6).  Members would be aware that in November 2004 Cabinet resolved that a 'Protocol for Members and Officers in dealing with Planning and related matters' was adopted (Cabinet Minute C1580).  The Cabinet report, minute and protocol were attached at Appendix A to the report.  The protocol included reference to a host of subject areas involving Members and officers when dealing with planning matters.  It was clear that in light of the Planning Bill and the Corporate Plan, this protocol required updating.  

 

On 4 December, 2013 the WG published a draft Planning Bill and supporting documents and consultation papers.

 

An updated Protocol for Members and Officers in dealing with Planning and related matters was in the process of being prepared. This updated version addressed the following areas: 

  • Third Party Involvement/Public Speaking at Planning Committee -Work was required to implement public speaking rights at Planning Committee. 
  • Decisions Contrary to Recommendations - This area would need updating in light of current thinking as included in the consultation documents associated with the Planning Bill.
  • Site Visits -  An updated procedure was also required for the arrangement and undertaking of site visits and would deal with matters including making requests for site visits, the timing of site visits and limiting of third party participation at site visits.
  • Committee Procedures - There was also a need to revise the protocol in terms of Committee procedures, in particular with regard to the role of local Members, Members who were not Members of the Committee and arrangements for voting.  There was also a need to consider appropriate methods for voting and recording of votes.  Again these were matters that would be included in a revised protocol.

This was a matter for Council decision.

 

RESOLVED – 

 

(1)          T H A T the work undertaken to update the Protocol for Members and Officers in dealing with Planning and related matters be noted and be referred to the Working Group for the Council Constitution.

 

(2)          T H A T the issues raised in this report be progressed through the Working Group for the Council's Constitution and reported to Council in due course.

 

(3)          T H A T the report be referred to Planning Committee for information purposes.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)          To ensure fairness, transparency and consistency in the consideration of all planning and related matters and to ensure that planning related issues are adequately addressed in the Council's Constitution.

 

(2)          In order for the Council to adopt an up to date protocol and revised procedures for Planning Committee matters and involvement of third parties.

 

(3)          For information purposes.

 

Attached as Appendix – Report to Cabinet – 27 JANUARY 2014

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