Decision Making Protocol
This protocol sets out our normal practice for decision making on development control applications at Planning Committee. It covers those circumstances where the officer recommendation for approval or refusal is to be deferred, altered or overturned. The protocol is based on the desirability of clarity and consistency in decision making and of minimising financial and reputational risk, and requires decisions to be based on material planning considerations and that conditions meet the tests of Circular 11/95: "The Use of Conditions in Planning Permissions." This protocol recognises and accepts that, on occasions, it may be advisable or necessary to defer determination of an application or for a recommendation to be amended and consequently for conditions or refusal reasons to be added, deleted or altered in any one of the circumstances below.
- Where an application is to be deferred, to facilitate further information or negotiation or at an applicant's request
- Where a recommendation is to be altered as the result of consultation or negotiation:
- The presenting Officer will clearly state the condition and its reason or the refusal reason to be added/deleted/altered, together with the material planning basis for that change
- In making any proposal to accept the Officer recommendation, a Member will clearly state whether the amended recommendation is proposed as stated, or whether the original recommendation in the agenda papers is proposed
Where a Member wishes to alter a recommendation:
In making a proposal, the Member will clearly state the condition and its reason or the refusal reason to be added/deleted/altered, together with the material planning basis for that change
In the interest of clarity and accuracy and for the minutes, the Head of Planning Services/Development Control Manager (or other presenting officer) will restate the amendment before the final vote is taken
Within 24 hours of the Planning Committee meeting the Head of Planning Services/Development Control Manager and/or Legal Services Manager will meet with the Committee Administrator to confirm the precise wording of the amendment
The amendment will then be circulated electronically to the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Planning Committee for final agreement. If no response is received by close of the following working day, the drafted amendment is deemed accepted and the decision authorised
Where Planning Committee wishes to a overturn a recommendation:
A final decision on the application will be deferred to allow associated risks to be clarified and conditions/refusal reasons to be properly drafted
An additional officer report will be prepared and presented to the next Planning Committee detailing the likely policy, financial and reputational etc risks resultant from overturning a recommendation, and also setting out the likely conditions (with reasons) or refusal reasons. This report should follow the Council's standard risk assessment practice and content
In making a decision to overturn a recommendation, Members will clearly state the material planning reason(s) why an alternative decision is being made, and which will be minuted for clarity
In order to ensure robust decision-making all members of Planning Committee are required to attend annual Development Control training, together with reference and consequences towards any Member carrying out inappropriate behaviour during the conduct of meetings.
Planning Services (Development Control) maintains a catalogue of 'standard conditions' for use in determining applications and seeks to comply with Circular 11/95 The Use of Conditions in Planning Permissions.
Members/Officers should have proper regard to probity considerations and relevant codes of conduct and best practice when considering and determining applications.
Protocol established March 2004.
Last reviewed O & S Committee 8 June 2006 and Council 17 October 2007.