Fringe Box



Letter: The Rules for Planning Committee Site Visits

Published on: 18 Aug, 2023
Updated on: 18 Aug, 2023

The “Silent Protest” by local residents

From: Fiona White

Lib Dem borough councillor for Ash Wharf and chair of GBC’s Planning Committee

In response to: ‘Green Buffer’ Motion to Reject Plan for Another 93 Homes in Ash Defeated

First, can I thank The Dragon for a fair report of the discussion at the Planning Committee on Wednesday evening. I would like to clarify the position regarding site visits.

A site visit is an informal meeting of the Planning Committee where members get a chance to assess the position on the ground and to informally ask questions and get responses from planning officers.

As such, there is no discussion with applicants or residents in the same way as they can’t be a part of the debate at a formal committee meeting. That situation applies to every site visit, regardless of where it is in the borough.

Anyone who attends a planning meeting will know that it is made clear in the chairman’s announcements that committee members don’t sit to represent their individual wards. They are there to make decisions on behalf of the whole borough and those decisions have to be based on planning policy.

That applies whatever personal feelings individual members may have about a particular application.

The detailed application about the land at May and Juniper Cottages already had outline planning permission for a development of up to 100 dwellings. It was thoroughly debated at the previous Planning Committee meeting when members decided to go on a site visit to assess the buffer zone literally on the ground.

We had a detailed and robust discussion on site before considering it again last Wednesday evening when there was a further debate. The officers will now word the additional conditions to cover the offer made by the developers which was reported at the meeting.

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