Decision Maker: Planning Committee
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
Roof extension to facilitate conversion of loft to habitable use and alterations to fenestration.
The Legal Services Manager presented a covering report which explained that the application was considered and determined by an Officer but that it had since come to light that the application was a ‘Member application’ and as such could only have been determined by Committee. The Planning Area Team Leader then presented the planning application.
Members then took part in a full debate on the application where a number of points were raised and responded to by Officers, including:
· clarification of the checks and balances in the process to screen applications for this sort of issue to ensure there were no grounds for accusations of favouritism
· whether erroneous applications should be voided in their entirety and completely new corrected applications should be submitted
· the error being that of the agent who submitted the application on behalf of the applicant, and the duty of care and trust in this professional relationship
The Legal Services Manager explained that planning applications were often submitted by architects and agents on behalf of the applicant who might not be fully aware of an applicant’s Local Authority status, that the application was valid in itself when it was made and as was usual practice with any incomplete application Officers would go back to the agent or applicant and ask for more information as they had done in this situation. The Interim Head of Development Management clarified that the national planning application form did have a section in which the applicant could declare if they were a Member of the Council or related to a Member, and that on this occasion the agent had completed that section in error by not declaring the applicant’s status. The Group Head of Planning noted that the Planning department received over 2000 planning applications a year and issues of resources meant that a process which ensured applications were 100% free from errors was not possible because every part of every planning application form simply could not be checked.
The recommendation was then proposed by Councillor Edwards and seconded by Councillor Bower.
That the application be APPROVED CONDITIONALLY as detailed in the report subject to the conditions as detailed.
The Chair highlighted paragraph 7.1 of the Officer’s report [on page 99 of the Agenda Pack] which noted a conflict between parts 7 and 8 of the Council’s Constitution. The Chair of the Constitution Working Party (and Member of the Committee) confirmed that this conflict would be addressed in the next review of the Constitution.
Report author: Nicola Spencer
Publication date: 07/10/2022
Date of decision: 28/09/2022
Decided at meeting: 28/09/2022 - Planning Committee