Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document
Meeting of the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 13/09/2005
A NEW DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE SYSTEM
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL
CONSTITUTION SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP - 9TH SEPTEMBER 2005
ENVIRONMENT AND LEISURE OVERVIEW & SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
13TH SEPTEMBER 2005
A NEW DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE SYSTEM
[Wards Affected: All]
Summary and Purpose
To receive the views and comments of the Development Control Committee meeting held on Monday, 5th September, 2005 on the report of the New Development Management Committee System at Appendix G, Item 13 on the agenda.
1. The Development Control Committee considered the Terms of Reference agreed by the Council on 19th July 2005 and agreed that the following observations and comments should be passed on to the Modernising Planning Special Interest Group for further consideration.
Town and Parish Councils Consultation
The Committee noted the concern of the Town and Parish Councils reported at their meeting held in 30th August, 2005 that, in certain circumstances, it was difficult to convey to their views to their local ward member on contentious issues, because it may bring that member in conflict with the Code of Conduct. The general opinion of the meeting was that the public in making representation on planning applications usually contacted all members of the committee and that local members should make arrangements with their parish/town councils to be informed of their views on applications.
It was recommended that feedback on decisions made should be improved to Town and Parish Councils and workshops arranged to assist town and parish councils’ understanding of their roles, Waverley's planning policies and procedures and issues relating to the Code of Conduct.
The Committee agreed with the suggested improvements proposed by the Modernising Planning SIG.
A Member was anxious that the Public Speaking Scheme was not overlooked but the Committee supported the proposed deferral of a review of the Scheme.
Change of Constitution
The view was expressed that it would be difficult for the public to get proper representation in one member wards. The member felt that it would be undemocratic not to be able to debate or vote on an issue that was being discussed by the "other" Committee. However, this view was not accepted by the majority of members as they felt the proposed "right of reply" should adequately meet most situations and supported the Modernising Planning SIG’s recommendation.
Several members expressed the opinion there was a need for clarification of the advice given Surrey County Council Highways. However, the Committee accepted that it should not duplicate the work of the Environment and Leisure O & S Committee.
The Committee noted and accepted the Modernising Planning SIG recommendation that members should not be involved with any pre-application discussions on householder and minor application. The Committee was informed of a recent forum held for Planning Agents as part of the communication improvements. This attracted a large attendance. Further planning forums were proposed to be arranged.
Membership of Committees
The Committee noted that a member had prepared an alternative membership list from that reported under paragraph 21 of the report which would be submitted to the meeting of the Constitution SIG on 9th September 2005.
Concern was expressed on the proposed size of the main Development Management Committee as it was felt the suggested membership of 44 members would be unwieldy. Although, the alternative view was expressed that it would need that level of membership to give credibility to any decisions taken on major sites in the Borough. It was also suggested that this level of membership should be adopted as a "pilot" scheme.
The Committee noted however that this was a matter to be determined by the Constitution SIG.
Officer Delegated Powers
The Committee noted the Modernising SIG’s comments.
The Committee supported the proposed improvements of Officer presentations particularly as they may obviate the need for site visits.
Site Visit Arrangements
Concern was expressed about the cost of site visits but many members felt that with improved Officer presentations it would likely reduce the need for them to be held. However, it was noted that the SIG had suggested that a system should be considered to alert members of applications that were an "exception to the rule".
Reporting Matters for Information
The Committee noted the SIG’s proposal that regular information should be provided on the website on a weekly basis and enforcement updates in a quarterly report. This was supported by the Committee although a member expressed his preference for the enforcement updates to remain on the agenda.
Impact on Resources/Speed of Decisions/Implementation
Several members felt that they could not adequately respond to the impact on resources until they were in possession of some sort of analysis of structure appraisal of current costs and likely costs. It was agreed however to meet government guidelines priority had to be given to improving the quality and speed of the planning service to Waverley residents.
It is recommended that the Development Control Committee views and observations be reviewed and taken into account.
There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.