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April 2020

 

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Adopted at MTC Full Council meeting 28/09/20

 

Contents

toc goes in here

Introduction

One important part of the Town Council’s work is to consider and make comments on planning applications. The Town Council gives views on applications to the Local Planning Authority (Cheshire East Counci) but has no powers to grant or refuse planning permission itself. Nevertheless, as a Statutory Consultee, the Town Council has the power to comment on proposals, and the local planning authority has a duty to consider the Town Council’s views.

Whilst Cheshire East Council is bound to consider comments made by the Parish, it is not bound to agree. However, the Town Council comments will carry a degree of weight, and for this reason it is important that the Town Council conducts itself on planning matters in a way which is transparent, accountable, objective and fair.

This document sets out how the Town Council deals with planning applications. Applicants seeking planning permission and those making comments on applications can therefore be aware of the Town Council’s approach.

Code of Conduct

The rules set out in the Members’ Code of Conduct apply equally to planning matters as it does to other Council functions.

As with all Council meetings, a Planning Committee Member must declare a pecuniary or non-pecuniary interest relating to any item on the agenda at the start of the meeting or soon as they become aware they have an interest.

Where a Member has a pecuniary interest in an item (or planning application), they must not participate in the matter or vote. The Member will leave the room for the duration of the item (or planning application).

Where a Member has a pecuniary interest in an item (or planning application), they may participate fully in the discussion and vote.

Members should not act as an Agent for anyone else in pursuing an application for planning consent, enforcement issue or other planning matter.

Procedure

On notification from the Local Planning Authority of an application, the Clerk or appropriate Officer, shall forward the application via email to the Planning Committee members and the relevant ward member.

The Planning Committee Members are listed in the Committee Membership document.

The Planning Committee meets every four to five weeks. The Clerk shall include on the agenda all planning applications since the last meeting and any other business relevant to the committee.

As with all meetings, the agenda pack will be both emailed and posted to Committee Members and emailed only to other Members.

It is recommended that the Committee Members prepare for the meeting by viewing each application on the agenda in the Cheshire East Council planning portal. This will help make the meeting as efficient as possible notwithstanding the need for considering the application documents as a committee and discussion between the Committee Members.

Applications can be searched for at http://planning.cheshireeast.gov.uk/

If the closing date for submitting comments on the application is earlier than the next scheduled Planning Committee meeting, the Clerk shall notify the planning department of the date and advise that any comments will be returned as soon as possible after that date.

During the meeting, the Clerk will, as directed by the Members, access the applications on the Cheshire East Council planning portal to allow Members to inspect documents and comments.

When considering a planning application, Members shall consider, amongst other issues:

  • The nature and extent of the proposed development as revealed by the plans accompanying the application,
  • The previous planning history, if any,
  • What impact, if any, the proposed development would have on the adjoining properties and on the immediate neighbourhood,
  • Whether the proposed development is in character with the adjoining properties and/or the surrounding area,
  • Whether the density of the development would result in overdevelopment of the application site/area,
  • The comments, if any, made by any adjoining residents,
  • The comments, if any, made by other Statutory Consultees.

When Members come to make a decision on a planning matter, they must:

  • Act fairly and openly,
  • Approach each case with an open mind,
  • Carefully weigh up relevant issues,
  • Determine each case on its own merits,
  • Ensure that there are clear and substantial reasons for their decisions, and that those reasons are clearly stated.

The Clerk shall inform the Cheshire East Planning department by email of the Committee’s decisions on planning applications whether they are objections (minuted as Resolutions) or comments. A planning officer will add the response to the suite of documents for that application.

Notes

Members do not typically visit development sites but on occasion the Clerk may be notified of site visit. Site visits are arranged by the Local Planning Authority. Members of the Town Council may attend but cannot ask questions and may not be allowed to pass beyond the boundary of the site.

Members may attend exhibitions/public consultations of development proposals arranged by developers.

On occasions developers may at the pre-application phase, wish to give a presentation to Members to explain their development proposals and/or to provide an opportunity for Members to raise questions in connection with the proposals.

Major planning applications are determined by Cheshire East Council’s Strategic Planning Board. If on invitation, the Planning Committee wish to make representation of the Town Council’s views, the committee may choose to nominate a member to speak. Guidance for registering to speak will be included in the communication for the meeting.

The Cheshire East Council Northern Planning Committee meeting deals with applications in the area that are for example complex or have been called in by a Cheshire East Councillor. As above, the committee may choose to nominate a member to speak.

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