Issue - decisions

REVIEW OF EXTENDED DELEGATED AUTHORITY INTRODUCED AT START OF COVID-19

07/07/2023 - REVIEW OF EXTENDED DELEGATED AUTHORITY INTRODUCED AT START OF COVID-19

The Executive Director of Economic Growth and Neighbourhood Services submitted a report seeking approval to make permanent the extension of delegated powers to officers to determine planning applications, as introduced as an interim measure at the start of the Covid 19 pandemic episode. 

 

  • Appendix 1 provided the delegations as preceding April 2020
  • Appendix 2 provided a copy of Appendix B as it had appeared in the Policy Committee papers for 27 April 2020, showing the existing delegations and the changes to them agreed as an interim measure for online meetings
  • Appendix 3 provided the delegations now proposed

 

The report explained that a report had been presented at Policy Committee on 27 April 2020 to explain that the Coronavirus Act and associated Regulations from 2020 had enabled Council meetings to take place online during the Covid-19 pandemic.  The report had provided revised protocols for running meetings to help manage online events and had included a proposal to extend the delegated authority for making decisions on planning applications and confirming Tree Preservation Orders to reduce the work handled by Planning Applications Committee (PAC), which had been agreed by the Policy Committee.  The report explained the changes which had been made.

 

With committee meetings being run mainly in person once again, officers had been considering if the amended delegations should continue to apply. The purpose of the extension, to help to reduce the number of cases needing to be decided by PAC, remained valid as it reduced the burden of work on case officers preparing and presenting reports for committee.

 

The report stated that, in practice, officers had welcomed being able to use the delegated authority to refuse major applications or to determine amendments in their negotiations to good effect and had exercised common sense by bringing the more controversial cases to committee. Between June 2020 and July 2022, 13 Major applications had been refused planning permission with four coming to PAC for a decision. The ability to deal with Variations to permissions without first clearing the approach with Councillors had also been effective.

 

Councillors could still call those and other applications to committee for a decision and were aware of the need to justify why. Officers had welcomed this and the way that Councillors had been pragmatic and willing to work with officers to confirm if a call in was still needed as the case had been progressed.

 

The report clarified that the section on Section 73 Variations – regarding applications to develop land without compliance with conditions attached by Committee - had been deleted, in line with the interim arrangement that those decisions be delegated to officers. However, it was considered appropriate to ask for a PAC decision when an objection to a Tree Preservation Order had been received or where the proposal had been submitted by or on behalf of the Council, so this was no longer proposed to be delegated.

 

An update report was tabled at the meeting which explained that, when the extended delegations had been agreed, it had been requested that a report on the applications affected by the change in delegations should be presented to PAC.  Such a report had been presented up to September 2020 but had been omitted since then.  Appendix 1 to the update report listed the major decisions for refusal from June 2020 to July 2022 and the report stated that officers would provide a similar table as appropriate in future.

 

Resolved –

 

          That the Assistant Director of Planning, Transport and Public Protection Services is not authorised to exercise delegated powers in respect of the following:

 

Applications “called -in” by a Councillor, including those in adjacent authorities.

Councillors need to explain why a decision by PAC is required, in consultation with the Planning Manager and Chair of PAC.

Planning Applications Committee re-referral

When Planning Applications Committee has resolved that a matter should be referred back to PAC.

Applications submitted by serving councillors and employees of the Council on Corporate Management Team and any person employed or engaged by Planning and Legal Services or their close family.

Applies to applications for planning permission, approval of reserved matters, variations of conditions, variations of legal agreements or planning obligations, advertisement consent, listed building consent, works affecting trees covered by tree preservation order and certificates of existing or proposed lawful use or development made by serving councillors or their close family and any member of the Corporate Management Team and any person employed or engaged by Planning and Legal Services or their close family.

Council developments

Power to determine an application for planning permission made by the Council alone or jointly with another person under Section 316 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and the Town and Country Planning General Regulations 1992 (S.I. 1992/1492) (Para 6) and the determination of applications made by the Council for listed building consent. 

Departures from the Development Plan.

Any development which is considered by the Assistant Director of Planning, Transport and Public Protection Services to be a departure from the provisions of the adopted development plan and recommendation is for approval.

‘Major’ Applications within the Borough where the officer recommendation is to grant planning permission.

 

 

Major development, i.e.:

Building or engineering work involving new development or change of use comprising:

(i)            residential development of 10 or more dwellings or residential development on an application site of 0.5 ha or more, or

(ii)      in the case of other development those comprising 1,000 sq. m or more of gross floorspace, or an application site of 1ha or more.      

Listed building consent

Only when forms part of a proposal that also requires planning permission in any of the above categories.

Tree Preservation Orders / Trees in conservation areas

Where an objection to a Tree Preservation Order has been received or where the proposal has been submitted by or on behalf of the Council