Those of you familiar with the planning process will know that Councils either make decisions on planning applications under delegated powers – when the decision is made by Officers, or the planning application is determined by the Council’s Planning Committee.
It is important to understand how each Council works and the triggers and mechanisms which define how an application is determined. These triggers and mechanisms are set out in the Council’s adopted constitution.
Councils, on a periodic basis, update and review their constitutions. As part of the review the triggers and mechanisms for an application to be determined by the Council’s Planning Committee could change. For example, if the Council operate a mechanism whereby if more than ‘x’ number of objections are received to a development proposal the application is referred to Committee the review of the constitution could increase the requirement for the number of objections that have to be received in order for the application to be determined by Committee. Thereby making it harder for objectors to go ‘door knocking’ purely to whip up the required level of objection which would result in the application being determined by Committee. We have recently seen Council’s change their constitutions to reflect this scenario – a much welcomed approach to addressing the lobbying power of NIMBY’s!
It may also be the case that Officer’s inadvertently adopt working practices, in relation to items being determined by the Council’s Planning Committee, which don’t reflect the adopted constitution and have crept in over time under the mantra “we’ve always done it line that”. Knowing how a Council’s constitution works can avoid your planning application unnecessarily having to be determined by the Council’s Planning Committee, or if it works in favour of the development – having the application determined by Planning Committee.
At Chapman Lily Planning we are familiar with Committee processes and can help you understand how the Council’s constitution impacts on your application and advise on the best course of action. For more information please contact Chapman Lily Planning.