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How we decide on planning applications

How we make planning decisions and our planning committee.

We deal with most planning applications under delegated powers. This is where certain council officers have been given the power to decide applications for the council.

These delegated officers carefully consider the recommendations of the case officer. The decision is then agreed and issued by the delegated officer on our behalf.

Certain types of applications are referred to planning committee for a decision.

The government’s Planning Portal has an overview of the decision making process for planning applications.

Planning Committee

Planning committee is a public meeting to decide whether to grant planning permission for a planning application.

The committee is made up of five councillors, including a chair, from different political parties and wards in the borough.

Committee meetings take place monthly and are held in the town hall.

When do we refer applications to the committee?

There are various reasons for an application to be referred to planning committee. We normally refer all developments we own, such as a school or council building, to committee.

How we keep objectors/supporters informed

We will email anyone who submits a letter of objection or support to confirm that we’ve receive their comments. Once a committee date has been set, we send out an invitation to all who have commented on the application. This will happen at least five days before the meeting. We publish the agenda one week ahead.

How decisions are made at planning committee meetings

A planning officer will present the application to the committee members and the public. After this, the agent/applicant is invited to speak for five minutes. Then a maximum of three objectors are allowed to speak for up to three minutes each. Given these limits, the objectors who speak should be decided before the meeting.

Councillors can put questions to the presenting planning officer, the applicant and objectors. In addition, councillors who are not part of the committee may speak but only through the use of standing orders. They cannot vote or influence the decision in any capacity. Members then discuss whether planning permission should be granted.

If the members are unable to decide, the application may be deferred to the next planning committee.