Thursday 10 November 2011

Planning committees and the call-in process...

Planning applications are determined either by Planning Committees or by officers under powers delegated to them by the council's constitution. Most applications are determined under these delegated powers. The Planning Committees usually only make decisions on planning applications for major developments, those proposals that raise significant public concern, or those 'called in' by a District Councillor.

The call-in process
District Councillors may "call in" applications they feel should go to Committee. If you have serious concerns about an application, you may wish to contact your local councillor about this as soon as you are notified of the application. Call-ins need to submitted at the earliest opportunity, this is in order that the Planning Department has the time to schedule in the application for a committee meeting so that a decision can be made within the statutory eight-week timescale that the department has to determine planning applications.

Call-in forms will state why the application has been called in and whether the application is to be called in if officers are minded to grant or minded to refuse an application. Call-in forms are published on the website along with the plans and other supporting documents.

Once officers have made their assessment of the application, they will then make their recommendation as to whether or not the application should be granted. Whether or not the application goes to Committee will usually depend on both this recommendation and the call-in. For example, if the recommendation is going to be to grant permission and there exists a call-in from a councillor to Committee if the recommendation is to grant, then that application will go to Committee. It is therefore normally only when officers have fully assessed an application and made their recommendation, that we know if an application needs to be heard at Committee. There are cases where there are call-ins from two councillors, one if the recommendation is grant and another if the recommendation is refuse, and these applications will go to Committee.

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