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Letter: I Am Disappointed With Move Away From 23 Member Planning Committee

Published on: 14 Apr, 2017
Updated on: 14 Apr, 2017

From Liz Hogger

Lib Dem borough councillor for Effingham

I am very disappointed that the Guildford Borough Council decided to move away from the 23 member Planning Committee which I think has served Guildford Borough well for many years.

Certainly residents liked to know that one of their councillors was a member of the Planning Committee and had developed an understanding of the technicalities of planning, so could make sure local knowledge and context was properly taken into account.

Although we don’t have a formal rotation system, as suggested by Mr Moss, in his letter Planning Committee Membership Could Be Rotated, with good will the political groups could achieve the same end.

Lib Dem councillors will have three members of the revised committee, plus five substitutes. We will make sure when an important item for any of the wards we represent comes to the Planning Committee then a Lib Dem councillor for that ward will have a vote at the meeting.

If they are not a permanent member, then one of those will step aside to allow them to substitute, so they have a vote and can play a formal part in the debate.

I would hope the Conservative group would do the same – let’s wait and see.

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Responses to Letter: I Am Disappointed With Move Away From 23 Member Planning Committee

  1. JP Moyer Reply

    April 14, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    What you suggest already works in Mole Valley which has a Development Control Committee of similar size to that being introduced in Guildford.

    Currently there are several wards without a member on the committee including Bookham South next to yours and Fetcham East. Plus the single member Okewood, Beare Green, Leith Hill and Charlwood wards. Substitutes are used but not necessarily from the wards where the applications are.

    This month an infilling application in Fetcham East recommended by officers was refused on a motion from a member of the same political group as the ward councillors.

    The ability of parish council and residents association speakers is also helpful, they also speak for residents in the locality.

    The Mole Valley committee this month also had a difficult (access on a bridleway) application in Brockham Buckland and Betchworth ward. The ward councillor, who is not a member of the committee, was allowed to speak; he brought detailed local knowledge to the debate. The other ward member there who is a member of the committee also spoke and voted.

  2. Bernard Parke Reply

    April 15, 2017 at 9:26 am

    May I say that Mole Valley is not Guildford which has a large demand for housing generated by the university.

    Unlike Guildford the towns in Mole Valley are not the sixth most congested town in the UK.

    To compare the two areas is like comparing chalk with cheese.

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