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Planning Application Decision-Makers

Approximately 95% of planning applications are usually determined by officers under delegated powers set out in the Council’s constitution.

Only about 5% of applications (usually the most controversial) will require determination by Plans Committee, which meets every four weeks.

All applications must be determined in accordance with the policies of the Development Plan or National Planning Policy Framework unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

Once an officer has formulated their recommendation, if no comments have been received on the application or if the officer recommendation concurs with the comments received then the decision is delegated to the Head of Planning and Regeneration.

If there is a variance between the officer recommendation and the comments received on the application, it is referred to the Borough Councillor(s) representing the area or Ward in which the application is proposed.

The officer produces a Ward Referral report with a recommended decision which is e-mailed to the Councillor(s), who have seven days to request that the application is to be determined by the Plans Committee. They must give a valid planning reason (such as concerns about highway safety or the impact on neighbours) why the application should be referred.

Plans Committee consists of 13 elected Councillors who listen to the views of the applicant and the public and the reports of the Planning Officers. Following a debate, they will then decide whether to grant or refuse the application on material planning grounds.

There are some exceptions where the decision will not be delegated and will be made by the Plans Committee without the Ward referral procedure being followed; for example if the applicant is a Borough Councillor or an officer employed by the Borough Council, or the application is submitted by or on behalf of the Council for its own development.

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