How are decisions on applications made?

To assist in speedy decision making certain non contentious applications can be approved or refused by the Director and their senior planning officers under delegated powers given to them by the Council

The majority of applications are determined using this decision route when a senior officer reviews the planning officers Report of Handling, and issues a decision notice. Both the decision notice and the Report of Handling are then published online, and anyone who commented on the application will be informed of the outcome.

Certain types of application are not dealt with using delegated powers. These include:

  • Applications where the senior officer or councillor has an interest (e.g. landowner, applicant, etc.)
  • Any application that receives more than 10 individual objections on planning related matters
  • Major Planning applications where there is a departure from the Local Plan
  • Any application that is deemed to be in the public interest

These types of applications are reported to the Planning, Protective Services and Licensing Committee (PPSL). This committee comprises 15 Elected Councillors from the 4 geographic areas who meet on a monthly basis to review the Reports of Handling, to review the Officers' recommendations, to question officers on their assessment process, and ultimately make a decision. Anyone who has made comments on a specific application will be notified of the time, date and venue of the PPSL where the application will be determined. Anyone is allowed to attend the PPSL as a spectator and listen to the debate, but please note that there is no opportunity for members of the public or people who have made comments to speak at this committee. All correspondence should already have been submitted during the consultation period.

Where councillors consider an application is of significant public interest, requires technical explanation or that a site visit would be useful, a pre-determination hearing and/or site inspection may be convened. At a pre-determination hearing people who have made comments will be allowed to present their views to the councillors.

The members of the PPSL committee may agree with the officers' recommendations or following their questioning and debate opt to reach a different decision. Where an alternative outcome from the officers' recommendation is proposed, the councillors need to provide competent motion based on planning policy. If there is a split in opinion or view a vote may be taken. The minutes from the PPSL meetings, debate and decisions are then published online.

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