PLANNING PROCESS (20 MINS)
Ashley Smith, Deputy Head of Planning to update the Conference on the two elements below:
· the consultation with PC on amended plans (what are minor or major applications and what consultation if plans amended) and
· Enforcement policy
The conference were provided with the Council’s current Planning Enforcement Policy.
The Deputy Head of Planning informed that whilst working on the Parish Charter it was agreed that parishes would be notified on any significant amendments that materially affected an application. There was also a public consultation period for planning applications and the Royal Borough also sent letters and put up posters for those near the application site. As part of the application process parish councils were also consulted.
The conference were informed that it was up to the planning authority if consultation was required on amended applications. They would look at the level of natural justice, for example if there had been significant change, will it impact original objections and would the changes impact on others who were not originally consulted with.
During discussion on this item the following points were raised:
· Concerns about supplementary planning documents. It was agreed that the revised planning structure chart would be circulated and that if there were any concerns about supplementary information added to an application then they should contact the relevant team leader. Planners were also visiting parish council’s to discuss concerns.
· Concern was raised about the borough not applying watertight conditions making it easier for developers to change applications. The conference were informed that national obligations were being met and if a developer proposed changes there was an obligation to consider them.
· Permitted development in the green belt and flood zones. It was asked that if they caused secondary issues such as flooding could permitted development rights be rejected. It was noted that permitted development was a national policy and thus they could only asses against the national policy. It a permitted development caused damage than it could be a civil matter.
· A number of parish council’s raised concerns about permitted development and enforcement of certain sites. As these were individual cases it was agreed that they would be discussed after the meeting.
With regards to enforcement the Deputy Head of Planning informed that an updated policy had been approved by Council in December 2018 and was attached to the agenda. The Council had received 400 enforcement complaints the previous year with 321 of these already being dealt with. The team had a substantial workload and prioritised cases as either high, medium or low. High priority cases were investigated in one day, such as work on listed buildings or felling protected trees. Substantial cases can take months to resolve. Medium cases usually take 7 days to investigate and cover areas such as impact on amenities or work not in plans. Low priority cases, such as a fence being too high, are dealt with when possible. The team prioritised cases on areas that impacted on people’s lives.
In response to questions the conference were informed that the enforcement process could take a long time as people were given time to ‘make good’ on work or they may submit a planning application that needs to be processed before further action could be taken. When enforcement was taken this could still take over a year even when the process went correctly. When an enforcement notice was issued it would say what action or work was required to comply with the notice, if this is not done would go to prosecution.
The update was noted.