About the scheme of delegation
The consultation closed on 13 November 2020.
We are no longer taking feedback.
Subject to the outcome of the consultation, we are proposing to seek approval for the Revised Scheme of Delegation from Full Council on 7th December 2020.
The last review of the Scheme of Delegation was undertaken in 2015. As part of that review, it was agreed that the scheme should be subject to regular review. Following consultation with Senior Officers within the Planning team, it is considered that the current Scheme of Delegation should be revised as it has not led to Planning Committee being able to solely focus on the most significant planning applications in the District and is considered to be unduly complex. It is also considered that the current Scheme of Delegation is contributing to delays in decision-making and impacting upon Service delivery.
The review is being undertaken for three main reasons:
- To ensure that Members of the Council’s Planning Committee are focused on the determination on the most significant and complex applications, namely those which affect the way the District will grow; and have a higher level of public interest;
- To ensure the Council is able to discharge it’s Development Management function in an efficient, cost effective, and timely manner so we are able to meet Government and BDC performance targets;
- To introduce a mechanism to allow for meaningful engagement with Members of the Council’s Planning Committee at the pre-application and application stage, prior to the determination of the application.
Revised Scheme of Delegation
The proposed revised Scheme of Delegation is included within Appendix 1. The key changes can be summarised as follows:
- Discard ‘Part A’ and ‘Part B’ of the Planning Committee Agenda. All applications would be presented by Officers and debated by Members (no applications would be considered ‘en-bloc’).
- All ‘Major’ applications would be reported to Planning Committee for determination.
- Repurpose Chair’s Briefing Process to provide greater oversight for larger ‘Minor’ applications for new residential development for 3-9 new homes where Parish/Town Council view is contrary to officer recommendation and/or proposal is subject to Member ‘Call In’.
- With the exception of the above, the following would all be determined under delegated powers:
- ‘Minor’ applications for new commercial development, residential development for 1-2 new homes (including applications for replacement dwellings, and agricultural workers dwellings);
- All Section 73 applications to vary or remove planning conditions, including seeking minor material amendments; and
- ‘Other’ applications (including applications for householder extensions, and applications for listed building consent and advertisement consent).
The revised Scheme of Delegation seeks to achieve the following key outcomes:
- A prescriptive, unambiguous and transparent Scheme of Delegation that is easy to understand for all users of the planning system.
- Ensures Members of the Planning Committee are focused on the most significant and complex applications.
- An efficient and timely procedure for determining planning applications.
Member Engagement in the Planning Process
By adjusting the Scheme of Delegation in this way, it would also be possible to enable proposals to be introduced to enhance Member engagement in the planning process. Specifically, the creation of a ‘Members Forum’ where applicants and agents would have the ability to present their proposals to Members of the Planning Committee at pre-application, pre-submission and application stage of the process.
If the proposals are approved, the ‘Members Forum’ would be open to Parish and Town Council’s and Local Ward Members to attend.
It should be noted that the Members Forum would be a way for Members to enhance their understanding of the proposals they have before them. It is not a decision making forum. This aspect of the proposal seeks to achieve the following key outcomes:
- Ensures meaningful engagement with Members, Local Ward Members and Parish/Town Councils in applications prior to their determination.
- Would enable applicants, agents, and Officers to understand issues of concern and how the proposals could be improved to address them.
- Strengthens Officers ability to negotiate positive changes to proposals.
- Members would have a greater level of confidence in how proposals have evolved through the planning process.