Local Councillor - Call-In for Planning Applications.How?

(23 Posts)
LittleFrieda Thu 20-Dec-12 19:58:46

Are there any local government whizzes on Mumsnet? I'm trying to understand under what circumstances a ward councillor would call-in a planning application so that it is decided by committee rather than by delegated authority?

Can anyone help

PseudoBadger Thu 20-Dec-12 20:59:10

I think on anything controversial or sensitive - determined by results of public consultation, policies/UDPs and planning officer opinion?

PseudoBadger Thu 20-Dec-12 21:01:23

For example, Kensington and Chelsea policy is:

The Committee decides those applications where:
there have been three or more objections and the Executive Director for Planning and Borough Development is recommending that planning permission should be granted
in most cases where a section 106 agreement is proposed
a Member has requested that the application be considered by Committee or
the Executive Director for Planning and Borough Development has decided that the application should be considered by the Committee
an application is contrary to the Council’s planning policies and the Executive Director’s recommendation is to grant permission

LittleFrieda Thu 20-Dec-12 21:14:53

PseudoBadger - thanks for your help. I currently have a planning application in and I would like it decided by committee, NOT by delegated decision. My neighbours are ALL in support and we don't contravene any planning policies, or conservation area policies.

It's just that there have been a few cases locally lately where planning has been decided by delegation and refused then won on appeal. Appeal is expensive and lengthy and I would prefer to have the probity of the planning committee, not the whim of one planner. grin

I think I have the right to ask my ward councillor to call it in, no?

PseudoBadger Thu 20-Dec-12 21:25:55

"My neighbours are ALL in support and we don't contravene any planning policies, or conservation area policies."

So why do you think it will be refused? As far as I'm aware planners can't just refuse on a whim, only on policy type grounds.

Members usually need a planning reason but quite often they're a bit tenuous to call an application to committee and with my LA, the member has to attend to put forward the reasons why they have exercised call in.

Call in doesn't necessarily mean it will get approved. Has the planning officer indicated that they will refuse your application then? If it's in line with policy and they are minded to refuse what grounds are they basing that decision on?

X post Badger

LittleFrieda Thu 20-Dec-12 22:56:08

I have no reason to believe it will be refused. But going to committee is preferable as less likelihood of weird result, I'm just wondering what the position is with the call in. Our local councillor reasonably often calls in if minded to grant when someone lobbies him when thy object. I don't personally see why councillors can't call in if minded to refuse (in fact I know they can, I'm just wondering on what grounds they do ths). Objectors should not be afforded greater representation than others.

I'm just wondering how this local government democracy murlarkey works. grin

Anifrangapani Thu 20-Dec-12 23:08:12

Any application can be called in.
Generally it is determined under delegation where it is small and nowhere near a local councillor's home or land interest.
Where it is big, percieved to be unpopular or different it will go to committee.
I much rather that my sites are determined under delegation.

baremadness Thu 20-Dec-12 23:14:15

If your application is likely to be refused at delegated you should be pre warned. Call and ask

Ponders Thu 20-Dec-12 23:29:04

I do not understand this planning thing at all

a large house down the road from me with a big garden - now owned by a firm of architects hmm - put in an application about a year ago for a hideous 3-storey block of 3 houses - a cross between a Swiss chalet & a warehouse, built of grey brick & timber, with tiny N-facing gardens & first floor living space directly overlooking a pub which has loads of social events.

Council sensibly rejected the application. This is in an area of mostly Victorian terraces, with massive parking problems, several other side turnings, a primary school down the road & a 6th form college round the corner. The new development would almost completely cover the existing garden area with building/parking, remove 5 or 6 roadside parking spaces to allow access, & require vehicular access almost directly opposite another residential development.

architect applicants have now appealed. The Tories have relaxed planning restrictions, I believe??? My previous objections are still on file but honestly I fear the worst sad

(sorry to hijack, OP, but it makes me so CROSS)

Flosshilde Thu 20-Dec-12 23:48:25

From someone who attends planning committees almost every week, you are much more likely to get a weird result at committee. grin

Members can call in an application if minded to refuse, I have advised someone to get his Ward Councillor to do exactly that this week. I'd be the one otherwise refusing it as well, though tbh I have no idea what we're going to do as he hasn't submitted it yet. If you're going to get an approval under delegated powers it is much quicker that way as the application doesn't have to get on a committee agenda which is on at least a 4 week cycle.

Not all applications can be called in btw. Some authorities have 100% delegation for householders. You need to check your Council's delegation scheme.

Agree with the likelihood of a weird result at committee wink

PseudoBadger Fri 21-Dec-12 07:44:11

Me too!

LoopsInHoops Fri 21-Dec-12 07:56:23

Far more likely to get a strange result at committee. Remember councillors are not trained planning officers. The planning officers acting under delegated power do sometimes get it wrong, but the likelihood of an appeal going against delegated decision is FAR lower than against committee decision.

In order to refer to committee, ward members will have received local objections substantive enough for there to be a likely split decision, or the area will be sensitive or the application controversial for some reason. Usually a ward has two or more members. If they are at odds as to the likely outcome of the application, it should go to committee.

In your case, with no objections, I would absolutely not want the application to go to committee.

Previous local councillor.

OhYouMerryLittleKitten Fri 21-Dec-12 07:59:43

I also would try and keep it away from planning ctte. Sometimes council lots make very strange decisions and it only takes one awkward and persuasive one....

wonkylegs Fri 21-Dec-12 08:01:39

In my experience too committee decisions are much more likely to be random on a whim results (even worse if it's an election year) that go to appeal. I've always tried to get clients a delegated decision as there is no whim involved, sometimes it's down to interpretation of the rules by each officer but the rules still apply.

Re : relaxation of the planning rules by the tories. This isn't really the case. The relaxation that hit the news applies to house extensions not new build developments and in practice it's generally agreed will make little or no difference because other rules still apply. Confusingly they have also reduced some of the guidance for planning in an attempt to 'simplify' the process which actually is causing more confusion with many planning authorities relying on the guidance they are supposed to have torn up. Most people in the industry agree that the uncertainty of the less guidance is going to lead to a lot more appeals in the next few years causing more confusion and cost and therefore less actual development, the complete opposite of what the change was supposed to do.

LittleFrieda Fri 21-Dec-12 09:20:37

I thought planning committees were decided by simple majority?

My architect thinks committee is preferable too. I'll ask him why.

I was more interested in the process of getting your councillor to call-in the decision. I've checked my council website and it isn't very clear.

LoopsInHoops Fri 21-Dec-12 09:22:53

It is, but ward councillors get to speak on the topic, announce their recommendations, then other members discuss. It is so easily swayed by something that a planning officer (or indeed appeal panel) might find irrelevant.

The only time it is preferable to go to committee is if the officers are minded to refuse permission, not the other way round.

LittleFrieda Fri 21-Dec-12 09:31:22

Loops, if ward councillors call in, they can only do so if the delegated decision maker is minded to grant or refuse. I was going to ask my ward councillor to call it in if minded to refuse.

How do I go about requesting that of my ward councillor?

LoopsInHoops Fri 21-Dec-12 09:35:08

They can refer it to committee if officers are minded either way.

I'm not sure for your area and would check with your planning officer, but usually the officer's recommendation is made available to the applicant well within the time frame for the ward member to refer to committee. However, be very careful about any action that could be construed as lobbying your councillors.

Do you have a planning agent?

LittleFrieda Fri 21-Dec-12 15:22:29

My ward councillor doesn't sit on the planning committee. In any case, a call in does not mean the application has ben predetermined, he would have to indicate if it had been predetermined and if it had not, it would not prevent him approving or refusing permission if he found himself sitting on the committee.

I'm a bit shocked that I don't know how local government works. I

Flosshilde Fri 21-Dec-12 16:29:24

To make the request of your Ward Councillor you simply get their contact details from your Council's website. Send them an email something like this.

Dear Cllr xxxx,

I am the applicant for planning application (your ref) at (your address). I would be grateful if, under the Council's adopted scheme of delegation, you would 'call in' this application for determination by Members if officers are minded to refuse the scheme. I believe this to be be in the public interest and the interest of the proper planning of the area.

If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact me on xxxx. I would also be grateful if the case officer could copy me into any correspondence they might have in respect of the call in.

Yours,

LittleFrieda

The councillor will then forward this to the case officer / planning manager and it will be done. I am a planning manager and I get at least one or two of these emails a month.

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