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Declarations of Interest
To provide an opportunity for Members and Officers to declare any personal and/or prejudicial interests in any item on the agenda.
No interests were declared.
Public Speaking Time/Open Session
In accordance with Procedure Rules Nos.11 and 35 a period of 10 minutes is allocated for members of the public to address the meeting on any matter relevant to the work of the meeting. Individual members of the public may speak for up to 5 minutes but the Chairman or person presiding will decide how the period of time allocated for public speaking will be apportioned where there are a number of speakers. Members of the public are not required to give notice to use this facility. However, as a matter of courtesy, a period of 24 hours’ notice is encouraged.
Members of the public wishing to ask a question at the meeting should provide at least three clear working days’ notice in writing and should include the question with that notice. This will enable an informed answer to be given.
There were no members of the public present.
To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 8th February 2011.
That the minutes of the meeting held on 8th February 2011 be approved as a correct record.
To consider a further draft of the Planning Protocol of Conduct incorporating amendments requested by Members at the previous meeting.
At the previous meeting, the Sub-Committee had considered a revised version of the Planning Protocol on conduct which had been produced in the form of a three page guidance note with key principles set out in a bulleted list, supplemented by detailed supporting information. Members had agreed a number of additional amendments to the content and format of the Protocol and had resolved that:
(1) the further amendments agreed by the Sub-Committee be incorporated into the revised Planning Protocol of Conduct;
(2) any further comments on the Protocol by Members of the Sub-Committee be conveyed to [Democratic Services] by 14th February;
(3) a revised version of the Protocol be submitted to the next meeting; and
(4) the issue of Planning Officers providing assistance to Members, including reasons, in the event that a Planning Committee determines an application against the recommendations of Officers, and the issue of Officer presentations at planning committee meetings, be raised at the next meeting of the Planning Chairmen.
With regard to resolution (4), the Officers reported that the Planning Chairmen and Planning Officers had confirmed that there was an understanding that Officers would assist Members in providing reasons for determining an application against the recommendation of Officers.
Members had before them a second revision of the Protocol which incorporated the amendments agreed at the previous meeting. This comprised a three page summary document setting out the aim and purpose of the Protocol and a list of 22 key points, supplemented by more detailed guidance notes. Members noted that the guidance notes included further guidance on predetermination, including advice on the form of wording to use when calling in an application.
During consideration of the Protocol, Councillor S Jones expressed concern at the section of the supporting guidance dealing with the lobbying of planning committee members and the acceptance of gifts or hospitality. She wished the guidance to be amended to advise individual members strongly not to attend meetings with developers and lobby groups. Whilst other Members of the Sub-Committee were content with the wording as it stood, Cllr Jones asked that her concerns be placed on record.
The Sub-Committee approved the revised document subject to the following amendments:
“15. make sure you are present at the planning meeting for the entire item, including the Officers’ introduction and update, otherwise you cannot vote.”
“7.4 Remember that you can copy or pass on any lobbying correspondence you receive to the Head of Planning and Housing at the earliest opportunity or declare the receipt of lobbying information at the planning meeting.”
Members were advised that the Planning Protocol of Conduct formed part of the Council’s Constitution and any changes ... view the full minutes text for item 15.
To review the Protocol on Public Speaking Rights at meetings of the Strategic Planning Board and Planning Committees.
The Constitution Committee, at its meeting on 27th January 2011, had extended the terms of reference of the Planning Protocol Sub-Committee to include a review of the arrangements for public speaking at meetings of the Council’s planning committees.
The Planning Protocol on Public Speaking had been circulated with the agenda for Members’ consideration.
Members’ key concerns related to the time allocated for local ward members to speak and the fact that members and public speakers were not able to use presentation aids when addressing the planning committee. The background to these issues was discussed with the Officers.
Members agreed the following amendments to the Protocol:
“1.3 In order to be fair to all parties, no presentation aids will be permitted. Similarly, the circulation of information, photographs and/or plans at the meeting will not be allowed. However, the site plan will be shown and may be referred to throughout the consideration of the application.”
Members were advised that the Planning Protocol on Public Speaking formed part of the Council’s Constitution and any changes to it required the approval of Council on the recommendation of the Constitution Committee. The Planning Protocol on Public Speaking had been developed by the Strategic Planning Board as the body responsible for producing protocols and procedures to facilitate the planning process. The amendments to the Protocol agreed by the Sub-Committee therefore needed to be reported to the Strategic Planning Board prior to final consideration by the Constitution Committee.
That the amendments to the Planning Protocol on Public Speaking be recommended to the Constitution Committee for approval by Council, subject to any comments from the Strategic Planning Board.